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E. CAPPS, PH.D., LL.D. T. E. PAGE, Lirr.D. W. H. D. ROUSE, Lirr.D. 




[j J.BERNOULLI Komischf Ikonognpt,* I^8fJ 











First printed 1915. 
Reprinted 1019, 1022. 














THE African Apuleius is one of the most curious 
figures of Roman literature. We know something 
of his life from his Apologia, and it is quite possible 
that at the beginning and at the end of the Meta- 
morphoses the description of Lucius, the hero of the 
story, may contain a few autobiographical details. He 
was born of good family at Madaura, a town on the 
confines of Numidia and Gaetulia, about the end of the 
first quarter of the second century A.D., and while still 
quite a young man set out on a journey to Alexandria. 
On the way he fell ill at Oea (supposed to be the 
modern Tripoli), and was nursed by a rich widow 
named Aemilia Pudentilla, who was rather older 
than himself. He married her, and in vexation at 
the unequal match her relations brought an action 
against him charging him with having won her love by 
means of magic. The Apologia referred to above is 
his speech for the defence, which was doubtless suc- 
cessful ; and he afterwards settled at Carthage, 
whence he journeyed through various African towns 
giving philosophical lectures and living the life of 
one of the regular Sophists of the Empire, from 
whom he only differed in that he wrote and lectured 
in Latin instead of in Greek. The date of his death 
is unknown. 

The interests of Apuleius were before all centred 
in religion, philosophy, and magic. He seems to 


have known and disliked the Christianity which was 
rapidly spreading in his time, and to have wished to 
commend to the world a form of Platonism which 
included an elaborate system of angels and demons ; 
and to have been strongly in favour of the Eastern 
systems of initiation which had by his time become 
exceedingly popular in the Roman Empire under the 
forms of the worship of Isis and Mithras. Besides 
the Metamorphoses contained in the present volume, 
and the Apologia, we possess from his pen the Florida, 
a collection of extracts " purple patches " from his 
lectures and speeches, on all conceivable subjects : a 
dialogue on the god (the Sai'pav) of Socrates, and a 
treatise on Plato and his doctrines. There is also 
extant a free version of the Aristotelian vtpl Koa-pov 
bearing Apuleius' name, but its ascription to him 
appears to be doubtful. 

In the Metamorphoses (or Golden Ass, as it is often 
called) the author's religious and philosophical views 
take a less important place than in most of his 
other works ; and indeed the last book, which 
contains an elaborate account of the hero's initiation 
into various mysteries, is of less value than the rest 
of the work except to professed students of the 
various Oriental religions which had to contend 
with the rising Christianity of the second century. 
The references to magic, which occur throughout, 
are of greater interest, and the story of the trans- 
formation of the hero into an ass, which is the main 
thread of the plot, so deeply impressed some of 
his contemporaries and successors that we find St. 
Augustine l writing : " Yet had he his humane reason 
still, as Apuleius had in his asse-ship, as himself 
writeth in his booke of the golden asse ; bee it a lie 

1 Of the Citie of God, xvm. 18 (17). Tr. by J. H[ealey]. 


or a truth that hee writeth (avi indicavit a 
The plot, however, was not his own, but taken from 
a still extant Greek work, AOVK.IOS fj ovos, which was 
formerly ascribed to Lucian, though it is almost 
certainly not his. It was very greatly improved by 
Apuleius, who cut down one or two of the scenes of 
the original and then greatly enlarged it with an 
abundance of excellent stories of love, sorcery, jests, 
and robbers ; and, in particular, inserted in the 
middle of his work the long and beautiful allegory 
of Cupid and Psyche. 

It seems probable that many of these stories 
belonged to the various collections of facetiae which 
were common in the later Greek and Roman litera- 
ture, though now unfortunately almost completely 
lost. The most famous collection was known as 
the Milesian Tales, originally collected by one Aris- 
tides, and translated into Latin by the historian 
Sisenna in late republican times : it is likely that, 
besides those contained in the Metamorphoses, we 
have specimens of a couple in the earlier novel 
of Petronius. These were almost universally, it 
must be confessed, of more than doubtful morality ; 
but as told by Apuleius in his rollicking fashion 
they give the reader little more than an impression 
of fun and high spirits, and the general effect may 
perhaps be compared with that of Boccaccio's 
Decameron. In that work, indeed, at least two of 
Apuleius' stories appear in an Italian surrounding, 
and the whole is probably not very much unlike what 
a collection of the Milesian stories must have been, 
except that Boccaccio's milieu is more romantic, and 
there would have been in the collection of Aristides 
a greater number of the shorter and more disgraceful 
kind of anecdote found in Poggio's Facetiae. 


Apuleius is by no means an easy author, delightful 
as he is, to read in the original Latin. Latin was not 
his native or natural language, and when he mastered 
it he worked out for himself a most extraordinary 
style, which seems to contain the genius of some quite 
other tongue clothed in a Latin dress. He would 
make use of rare and outlandish words, as well as 
reviving others which had dropped out of the ordi- 
nary language since pre-classical times, and combined 
the whole into a curious mosaic, not at all unsuitable, 
indeed, to the weird and jolly stories that he had to 
tell, but disconcerting to those accustomed to the 
sobriety and regularity of classical Latin. We are 
fortunate indeed in possessing an Elizabethan trans- 
lation of the Golden Ass, for the language of no 
other age of our literature could make any attempt 
to represent the exuberance of the original ; and 
though the style of Adlington is far more restrained 
than that of his model, some of Apuleius' peculiarities 
show through it sufficiently to give the English reader 
at least an idea of the language in which the novel 
was written. 

Of William Adlington we know nothing except 
that he dedicated his translation to the Earl of Sussex, 
writing from University College, Oxford, September 
18, 1566; and that he was possibly the author of 
a little verse tract, A Speciall Remedie against the 
furious force of Lawlesse Love, published thirteen 
years later. His translation must have been popular, 
for it was reprinted three times in the next thirty 
years, and once again forty years later still ; and the 
great rarity of all these editions is further evidence 
that they were appreciated and constantly read. 1 

1 For an elaborate and clear-sighted criticism of the merits 
and failures of Adlington's translation the reader should 


This is the translation which in the present volume 
is printed opposite to the Latin text. It is, however, 
by no means as Adlington wrote it. I have not only 
modernized the spelling and completely rearranged 
the punctuation for Adlington's system was indeed 
" very obscure and dark, and thereby consequently 
loathsome to the reader " but I have altered it to 
bring it into greater harmony with the Latin accord- 
ing to modern ideas of translation. I may frankly 
state that I have done so not without some very 
considerable degree of repugnance, for meddling 
with the style of such a masterpiece of English must 
needs impair the balance of the sentences, and intro- 
duce to some extent an incongruous element; but 
a greater degree of accuracy than Adlington ever 
attained is necessary to the plan of the present 
series. I have attempted, not without considerable 
labour, to make the alterations as few and as slight 
as possible ; and the result is, I hope, a rendering 
which, while not by any means a word-for-word 
representation of the original, is yet sufficiently 
accurate, without being literal, for all ordinary pur- 
poses, and at the same time preserves the charm of 
the sixteenth-century English version. 

The Latin text here printed is somewhat eclectic. 
It is founded to a considerable extent, as all future 
texts of Apuleius must be, on the work of Helm, 
his latest editor in the Teubner series. But it does not 
by any means invariably follow him, and I have used 
my own judgement freely in selecting variant readings 

consult Mr. Charles Whibley's Introduction to the Tudor 
Translation reprint (see Select Bibliography). Mr. Whibley has 
proved that he depended to some extent (though by no means 
wholly) on a French translation, and has even, with great 
ingenuity, tracked down the particular rendering he employed. 



and admitting conjectures ; I have called attention 
in the footnotes to some of the more important 
departures from the reading of the manuscripts. 
Besides the text of Helm, I have made constant use 
of the work of Beroaldus, whose commentary, after 
the lapse of more than four hundred years, still seems 
to me to be much the best in existence. 




14t>9. Editio Princeps, printed at Rome by Sweyn- 
heym and Pannartz, without commentary. 
Edited by Jo. Andreas de Buxis. 

1 500. Bologna, Benedictus Hectoris Faelli, Apuleius 
cum Beroaldi commentariis. Reprinted several 
times e.g. Venice, 1501, and Paris, 1512. 

1521. Aldine edition, printed at Venice. 

1 786. Leiden. Ruhnken's edition, embodying 
Oudendorp's notes. 

1825. London, Valpy. A large variorum edition 
embodying the commentaries of all the most 
important editors up to that date. 

1842. Leipzig. Edited by G. F. Hildebrand. 

1855. Leipzig. The story of Cupid and Psyche 
only. Edited by O. Jahn. 

1907. Leipzig, Teubner. Edited by R. Helm ; 
second edition, 1913. 

Of these Helm's is the most valuable for the 
text; the Valpy edition and any containing 
the commentary of Beroaldus, for explanatory 




1566. London, Henry Wykes. Adlington's trans- 
lation, reprinted 1571, 1582, 1596, 1600 (?), 

1822. London. The translation of Thomas Taylor, 
the Platonist. 

1866. London. A translation in Bonn's Classical 

1893. London. Adlington's translation reprinted 
in the series of Tudor Translations. 

1904. London, George Bell. Adlington's transla- 
tion reprinted. 

1910. Oxford. Translation by H. E. Butler, now 
Professor of Latin in the University of London. 

1913. London. Adlington's translation reprinted, 
with Introduction by Thomas Seccombe. 


1898. London. Introduction by Charles Whibley 
to the Tudor Translation mentioned above ; 
reprinted in the same writer's Studies in Frank- 
ness (Heinemann). 

1900. London. Teuffel and Schwabe's History of 
Roman Literature, translated by G. C. W. Warr. 
vol. ii. pp. 236 ff*. 



the Golden Affe, 

Conteininge theMetamorphofie 

of Lucius Apuleius, enterlaced 

totti) fonurie pleafauntanD Delecta= 

ble Cales, foritf) an ercellent 

Jl^attation of tfje a^ari= 

age of CupiDe anD 

in tfje iuj. 
, anD DJ. 

Iranflated out of Latine into Englifhe 
by William Adlington. 

Imprinted at London in Fleetftreate t 

at the figne of the Oliphante, 

by Henry Wykes. 

. 1566. 


WHEN that I had, gentle reader, slightly here and 
there run over the pleasant and delectable jests of 
Lucius Apuleius (a, man of ancient descent, and 
endued with singular learning) written in such a 
frank and flourishing style, as he seemed to have the 
Muses always at will, to feed and maintain his pen : 
and when again I perceived the matter to minister 
such exceeding plenty of mirth, as never in my 
judgement the like hath been shewed by any other, I 
purposed according to my slender knowledge (though 
it were rudely, and far disagreeing from the fine and 
excellent doings nowadays) to translate the same 
into our vulgar tongue, to the end that amongst so 
many sage and serious works (as every man well nigh 
endeavour daily to increase) there might be some 
fresh and pleasant matter to recreate the minds of 
the readers withal. Howbeit I was eftsoons driven 
from my purpose by two causes : first, perceiving 
that the author had written his work in so dark and 
high a style, in so strange and absurd words, and in 
such new invented phrases, as he seemed rather to 
set it forth to shew his magnificence of prose, than 
to participate his doings to other ; secondly, fearing 
lest the translation of this present book (which 
seemeth a mere jest and fable, and a work worthy to 
be laughed at, by reason of the vanity of the author) 
might be contemned and despised of all men, and 



so, consequently, I to be had in derision to occupy 
myself in such frivolous and trifling toys. But on 
the other side, when I had throughly learned the 
intent of the author and the purpose why he invented 
so sportful a jest, I was verily persuaded that my 
small travail should not only be accepted of many, 
but the matter itself allowed and praised of all. 
Wherefore I intend, God willing, as nigh as I can to 
utter and open the meaning thereof to the simple 
and ignorant, whereby they may not take the same 
as a thing only to jest and laugh at (for the fables of 
Aesop and the feigning of poets were never written 
for that purpose) but by the pleasantness thereof be 
rather induced to the knowledge of their present 
estate, and thereby transform themselves into the 
right and perfect shape of men. The argument of 
the book is, how Lucius Apuleius, the author himself, 
travelled into Thessaly (being a region in Greece 
where all the women for the most be such wonderful 
witches, that they can transform men into the figure 
of brute beasts) where after he had continued a few 
days, by the mighty force of a violent confection he 
was changed into a miserable ass, and nothing might 
reduce him to his wonted shape but the eating of a 
rose, which, after the endurance of infinite sorrow, 
at length he obtained by prayer. Verily under the 
wrap of this transformation is taxed the life of 
mortal men, when as we suffer our minds so to be 
drowned in the sensual lusts of the flesh and the 
beastly pleasure thereof (which aptly may be called 
the violent confection of witches) that we lose 
wholly the use of reason and virtue, which properly 
should be in a man, and play the parts of brute 
and savage beasts. By like occasion we read how 
divers of the companions of Ulysses were turned 


by the marvellous power of Circe into swine. And 
find we not in the Scripture that Nebuchadnezzar, 
the ninth king of Babylon, by reason of his great 
dominions and realms, fell into such exceeding pride 
that he was suddenly transformed of almighty God 
into an horrible monster, having the head of an ox, 
the feet of a bear, and the tail of a lion, and did eat 
hay as a beast ? But as Lucius Apuleius was changed 
into his human shape bv a rose, the companions of 
Ulysses by great intercession, and Nebuchadnezzar by 
the continual prayers of Daniel, whereby they knew 
themselves and lived after a good and virtuous life : 
so can we never be restored to the right figure of 
ourselves, except we taste and eat the sweet rose 
of reason and virtue, which the rather by mediation of 
prayer we may assuredly attain. Again, may not the 
meaning of this work be altered and turned in this 
sort? A man desirous to apply his mind to some 
excellent art, or given to the study of any of the 
sciences, at the first appeareth to himself an ass 
without wit, without knowledge, and not much 
unlike a brute beast, till such time as by much pain 
and travail he hath achieved to the perfectiiess of 
the same, and tasting the sweet flower and fruit of 
his studies, doth think himself well brought to the 
right and very shape of a man. Finally, the Meta- 
morphose of Lucius Apuleius may be resembled to 
youth without discretion, and his reduction to age 
possessed with wisdom and virtue. 

Now since this book of Lucius is a figure of man's 
life, and touch eth the- nature and manners of mortal 
men, egging them forward from their asinal form to 
their human and perfect shape, beside the pleasant 
and delectable jests therein contained, I trust if my 
simple translation be nothing accepted, yet the matter 



itself shall be esteemed by such as not only delight 
to please their fancies in reading the same, but also 
take a pattern thereby to regenerate their minds 
from brutish and beastly custom. Howbeit I have 
not so exactly passed through the author, as to point 
every sentence as it is in Latin, or so absolutely 
translated every word as it lieth in the prose (for so 
the French and Spanish translators have not done) 
considering the same in our vulgar tongue would 
have appeared very obscure and dark, and thereby 
consequently loathsome to the reader, but nothing 
erring from the true and natural meaning of the 
author, have used more common and familiar words 
(yet not so much as I might do) for the plainer setting 
forth of the same. But howsoever it be, gentle reader, 
I pray thee take it in good part, considering that for 
thee I have taken this pain, to the intent that thou 
mayest read the same with pleasure. 



Lucius APULEIUS AFKICAN, an excellent follower of 
Plato his sect, born in Madaura, a country sometime 
inhabited by the Romans, and under the jurisdiction 
of Syphax, situate and lying upon the borders of 
Numidia and Gaetulia, whereby he calleth himself 
half a Numidian and half a Gaetulian : and Sidonius 
named him the Platonian Madaurence. His father, 
called Theseus, had passed all offices of dignity in 
his country with much honour : his mother, named 
Salvia, was of such excellent virtue, that she passed 
all the dames of her time, born of an ancient house, 
and descended from the noble philosopher, Plutarch, 
and Sextus his nephew : his wife called Pudentilla 
was endowed with as much virtue and richness as 
any woman might be. He himself was of an high 
and comely stature, grey-eyed, his hair yellow, and 
a beautiful personage ; he flourished in Carthage in 
the time of Julianus Avitus and Claudius Maximus 
proconsuls, where he spent his youth in learning the 
liberal sciences, and much profited under his masters 
there, whereby not without cause he gloriously 
calleth himself the nourice of Carthage, [and] the 
celestial Muse and venerable mistress of Africke. 
Soon after, at Athens (where in times past the well 
of all doctrine flourished) he tasted many of the cups 


of the Muses, he learned poetry, geometry, music, 
logic, and the universal knowledge of philosophy, 
and studied not in vain the nine Muses, that is to 
say, the nine noble and royal disciplines. Imme- 
diately after he went to Rome, and studied there the 
Latin tongue with such labour and continual study 
that he achieved to great eloquence, and was known 
and approved to be excellently learned, whereby he 
might worthily be called Polyhistor, that is to say, 
one that knoweth much or many things. 

And being thus no less endued with eloquence 
than with singular learning, he wrote many books for 
them that should come after : whereof part by negli- 
gence of times be intercepted, and part now extant, 
do sufficiently declare with how much wisdom and 
doctrine he flourished, and with how much virtue he 
excelled amongst the rude and barbarous people. 
The like was Anacharsis amongst the most luskish 
Scythes. But amongst the books of Lucius Apuleius, 
which are perished and prevented, howbeit greatlv 
desired of us nowadays, one was entituled Banquet- 
ing Questions, another entreating of the nature of 
fish, another of the generation of beasts, another 
containing his Epigrams, and another called Herma- 
goras : but such as are now extant are the four books 
named Floridorum, wherein is contained a flourishing 
style and a savoury kind of learning, which delighteth, 
holdeth, and rejoiceth the reader marvellously ; 
wherein you shall find a great variety of things, as 
leaping one from another : one excellent and copious 
oration, containing all the grace and virtue of the 
art oratory, whereby he cleareth himself of the crime 
of art magic, which was slanderously objected against 
him by his envious adversaries, wherein is contained 
such force of eloquence and doctrine as he seemeth to 



pass and excel himself. There is another book of the 
god or spirit of Socrates, whereof S. Augustine maketh 
mention in his book of the definition of spirits and 
description of men : two other books of the opinion 
of Plato, wherein is briefly contained that which 
before was largely expressed : one book of Cosmo- 
graphy, comprising many things of Aristotle's 
Meteors : the dialogue of Trismegistus translated by 
him out of Greek into Latin, so fine, that it rather 
seemeth with more eloquence turned into Latin, than 
it was before written in Greek : but principally these 
eleven books of the Golden Ass are enriched with 
such pleasant matter, with such excellency and 
variety of flourishing tales, that nothing may be 
more sweet and delectable ; whereby worthily they 
may be entituled, The Books of the Golden Ass, 
for the passing style and matter therein. For what 
can be more acceptable than this Ass of Gold in- 
deed ? Howbeit there may be many which would 
rather entitle it Metamorphosis, that is to say, a 
transfiguration or transformation, by reason of the 
argument and matter therein. 




That I to thee some joyous jests may show in gentle gloee, 
And frankly feed thy bended ears with passing pleasant prose : 
So that thou deign in seemly sort this wanton book to view, 
That is set out and garnished fine, with written phrases new. 
I will declare how one by hap his human figure lost, 
And how in brutish formed shape his loathed life he tossed. 
And how he was in course of time from such estate unfold, 
Who eftsoons, turned to pristine shape, his lot unlucky told. 

WHAT and who he was attend a while, and you shall 
understand that it was even I, the writer of mine 
own Metamorphose and strange alteration of figure. 
Hymettus, Athens, Isthmia, Ephyrus, Taenaros, and 
Sparta, being fat and fertile soils (as I pray you give 
credit to the books of more everlasting fame) be 
places where mine ancient progeny and lineage did 
sometime flourish : there I say, in Athens, when I 
was young, I went first to school. Soon after (as 
a stranger) I arrived at Rome, whereas by great 
industry, and without instruction of any school 
master, I attained to the full perfection of the Latin 
tongue : behold, I first crave and beg your pardon, 
lest I should happen to displease or offend any of you 
by the rude and rustic utterance of this strange and 
foreign language. And verily this new alteration of 



speech doth correspond to the enterprised matter 
whereof I purpose to entreat ; I will set forth unto 
you a pleasant Grecian jest. Whereunto, gentle 
reader, if thou wilt give attendant ear, it will 
minister unto thee such delectable matter as thou 
shalt be well contented withal. 



tell the matter in a more plain and simple fashion.' 
Then answered he : ' Will you hear one or two or 
more of the deeds which she hath done ? For 
whereas she enforceth not only the inhabitants of 
this country here, but also the Indians and Ethiopians 
and even the Antipodeans to love her in most raging 
sort, such are but trifles and chips of her occupation ; 
but I pray you give ear, and I will declare of greater 
matters, which she hath done openly and before the 
face of all men. 

" ' This woman had a certain lover whom, by the 
utterance of one only word, she turned into a beaver 
because he loved another woman beside her, and the 
reason why she transformed him into such a beast, is 
that it is his nature, when he perceives the hunters and 
hounds to draw after him, to bite off his members 
and lay them in the way, that the pursuers may be 
at a stop when they find them, and to the intent 
that so it might happen unto him (because he fancied 
another woman) she turned him into that kind of 
shape. Likewise she changed one of her neighbours, 
being an old man and one that sold wine, in that he 
was a rival of her occupation, into a frog, and now 
the poor wretch swimming in one of his own pipes of 
wine, and being well nigh drowned in the dregs, 
doth cry and call with croakings continually for his 
old guests and acquaintance that pass by. Likewise 
she turned one of the advocates of the Court (because 
he pleaded and spake against her) into a horned 
ram, and now the poor ram doth act advocate. 
Moreover she caused the wife of a certain lover that 
she had, because she spake sharply and wittily 
against her, should never be delivered of her child, 
but should remain, her womb closed up, everlastingly 
pregnant, and according to the computation of all 
B 17 


damnavit et, ut cuncti numerant, iam octo annorum 
onere misella ilia velut elephantum paritura dis- 
10 tenditur. Quae cum subinde ac multis noceret, 
publicitus indignatio percrebruit, statutumque ut in 
earn die altera severissime saxorum iaculationibus 
vindicaretur : quod consilium virtutibus cantionum 
antevortit et, ut ilia Medea unius dieculae a Creone 
impetratis induciis totam eius domum filiamque cum 
ipso sene flammis coronalibus deusserat, sic haec 
devotionibus sepulchralibus in scrobem procuratis, 
ut raihi temulenta narravit proxime, cunctos in suis 
sibi domibus tacita numinum violentia clausit, ut toto 
biduo non claustra perfringi, non fores evelli, non 
denique parietes ipsi quiverint perforari, quoad 
mutua hortatione consone clamitarent, quam sanc- 
tissime deierantes sese neque ei manus admolituros, 
et si quis aliud cogitarit, salutare laturos subsidium : 
et sic ilia propitiata totam civitatem absoluit. At 
vero coetus illius auctorem nocte intempesta cum 
tola domo, id est parietibus et ipso solo et omni 
fundamento, ut erat, clausa ad centesimum lapidem 
in aliam civitatem summo vertice montis exasperati 
sitanij et ob id ad aquas sterilem, transtulit. Et 
quoniam densa inhabitantium aedificia locum novo 
hospiti non dabant, ante portam proiecta domo 


men, it is eight years past since the poor woman 
began first to swell, and now she is increased so big 
that she seemeth as though she would bring forth 
some great elephant : and when this was known 
abroad and published throughout all the town, they 
took indignation against her, and ordained that 
the next day she should be most cruelly stoned to 
death ; which purpose of theirs she prevented by the 
virtue of her enchantments, and as Medea (who 
obtained of King Creon but one day's respite before 
her departure) did burn in the flames of the bride's 
garland all his house, him and his daughter, so she, 
by her conjurations and invocation of spirits, which 
she uses over a certain trench, as she herself declared 
unto me being drunken the next day following, 
closed all the persons of the town so sure in their 
houses, by the secret power of her gods, that for 
the space of two days they could not come forth, nor 
open their gates nor doors, nor even break down 
their walls ; whereby they were enforced by mutual 
consent to cry unto her and to bind themselves 
straitly that they would never after molest or hurt 
her, and moreover if any did offer her any injury 
they would be ready to defend her ; whereupon 
she, moved at their promises, released all the 
town. But she conveyed the principal author of 
this ordinance, about midnight, with all his house, 
the walls, the ground and the foundation, into 
another town distant from thence a hundred miles 
situate and being on the top of a barren hill, and 
by reason thereof destitute of water : and because 
the edifices and houses were so close builded together 
that it was not possible for the house to stand 
there, she threw down the same before the gate 
of the town.' 



1 1 discessit.' ' Mira ' inquam ' Nee minus saeva, mi 
Socrates, memoras. Denique mihi quoque non par- 
vam incussisti sollicitudinem, immo vero formidinein, 
iniecto 11011 scrupulo sed lancea, ne quo numiuis 
ministerio similiter usa sermones istos nostros anus 
ilia cognoscat. Itaque maturius quieti nos reponamus 
et somno levata lassitudine noctis antelucio aufugia- 
mus istinc quam pote longissime.' 

" Haec adhuc me suadente insolita vinolentia ac 
diurna fatigatione pertentatus bonus Socrates iam 
sopitus stertebat altius. Ego vero adducta fore 
pessulisque firmatis, grabatulo etiam pone cardines 
supposito et probe aggesto. super eum me recipio : 
ac primum prae metu aliquantisper vigilo, dein circa 
tertiam ferme vigiliam paululum conniveo. Commo- 
dum quieveram, et repente impulsu niaiore quam 
ut latrones crederes ianuae reserantur, immo vero 
fractis et evolsis funditus cardinibus prosternuntur. 
Grabatulus, alioquin breviculus et uno pede mutilus 
ac putris, impetus tanti violentia prosternitur, me 
quoque evolutum atque excussum humi recidens 
inversum cooperit ac tegit. 

12 "Tune ego seusi naturalitus quosdam affectus in 
contrarium provenire : nam ut lacrimae saepicule de 
gaudio prodeunt, ita et in illo nimio pavore risum 
nequivi continere, de Aristomene testudo factus. 
Ac dum infimum deiectus, obliquo aspectu, quid 


"Then spake I and said : 'O my friend Socrates, you 
have declared unto me many marvellous things and 
no less cruel, and moreover stricken me also with no 
small trouble of mind, yea rather with great prick of 
fear, lest the same old woman, using the like practice, 
should chance to hear all our communication : 
wherefore let us now sleep, though it be early, and 
after that we have done away our weariness with 
rest let us rise betimes in the morning and ride from 
hence before day as far as we may.' 

" In speaking these words, it fortuned that Socrates 
did fall asleep, and snored very soundly, by reason 
of his new plenty of meat and wine and his long 
travail. Then I closed and barred fast the doors of 
the chamber, and put my bed and made it fast behind 
the door and so laid me down to rest ; but at first I 
could in no wise sleep for the great fear which was 
in my heart, until it was about midnight, and then 
I closed my eyes for a little: but alas, I had just 
begun to sleep, when behold suddenly the chamber 
doors brake open ; nay, the locks, bolts and posts fell 
down with greater force than if thieves had been 
presently come to have spoiled and robbed us. And 
my bed whereon I lay, being a truckle-bed and 
somewhat short, and one of the feet broken and 
rotten, by violence was turned upside down, and I 
likewise was overwhelmed and covered lying in the 

" Then perceived I in myself, that certain effects 
of the mind by nature are turned contrary. For as 
tears oftentimes are shed for joy, so I being in this 
fearful perplexity could not forbear laughing, to see 
how of Aristomenes I was made like unto a tortoise. 
And while I lay on the ground covered in the happy 
protection of my pallet, I peeped from under the bed 



rei sit grabatuli sollertia munitus opperior, video 
rnulieres duas altioris aetatis ; lucernam lucidam 
gerebat una, spongiam et nudum gladium altera ; 
hoc habitu Socratem bene quietum circumstetere. 
Infit ilia cum gladio * Hie est, soror Panthia, carus 
Endymion, hie Catamitus metis, qui diebus ac 
noctibus illusit aetatulam meam : hie, qui meis 
araoribus subterhabitis non solum me diffamat pro- 
bris, verum etiam fugam instruit. At ego scilicet 
Ulixi astu deserta vice Calypsonis aeternam soli- 
tudinem flebo.' Et porrecta dextera meque Panthiae 
suae demonstrate, 'At hie bonus' inquit ' Consiliator 
Aristomenes, qui fugae huius auctor fuit, et nunc 
morti proximus iam humi prostratus grabatulo suc- 
cubans iacet, et haec omnia conspicit, impune se 
laturum meas conturnelias putat. Faxo eum sero, 
immo statim, immo vero iam nunc tit et praecedentis 
dicacitatis et instantis curiositatis paeniteat.' 
13 " Haec ego ut accepi, sudore frigido miser perfluo 
tremore viscera quatior, ut grabatulus etiam suc- 
cussu meo 1 inquietus super dorsum meum palpitando 
saltaret. At bona Panthia ' Quin igitur ' inquit 
' Soror, hunc primum bacchatim discerpimus vel 
membris eius destinatis virilia desecamus ? ' Ad 
haec Meroe (sic enim reapse nomen eius tune fabulis 
Socratis convenire sentiebam) ' Immo ' ait ' Supersit 
hie saltern, qui miselli huius corpus parva contumulet 
Immo,' et capite Socratis in alterum dimoto latus 

i The MSS appear to have succuasus sum to. The correction 
is due to Helm. 



to see what would happen. And behold there entered 
two old women, the one bearing a burning torch, 
and the other a sponge and a naked sword. And so 
in this habit they stood about Socrates being fast 
asleep. Then she which bare the sword said unto 
the other : ' Behold, sister Panthia, this is my dear 
Endymion and my sweet Ganymede, which both day 
and night hath abused my wanton youthfulness ; 
this is he (who little regarding my love) doth not 
only defame me with reproachful words, but also 
intendeth to run away. And I shall be forsaken by 
like craft as Ulysses did use, and shall continually 
bewail my solitariness as Calypso'; which said she 
pointed towards me, that lay under the bed, and 
shewed me to Panthia. 'This is he,' quoth she, 
' Which is his good counsellor, Aristomenes, and 
persuadeth him to forsake me, and now (being at 
the point of death) he lieth prostrate on the ground 
covered with his bed, and hath seen all our doings, 
and hopeth to escape scot-free from my hands for all 
his insults ; but I will cause that he shall repent 
himself too late, nay rather forthwith of his former 
intemperate language and his present curiosity.' 

"Which words when I heard, I fell into a cold 
sweat, and my heart trembled with fear, in so much 
that the bed over me did likewise rattle and shake 
and dance with my trembling. Then spake Panthia 
unto Meroe, and said : ' Sister, let us by and by tear 
him in pieces, or else tie him by the members and 
so cut them off.' Then Meroe (for thus I learned 
that her name really was that which I had heard in 
Socrates' tale) answered : ' Nay, rather let him live, 
to bury the corpse of this poor wretch in some hole 
of the earth,' and therewithal she turned the head 
of Socrates on the other side, and thrust her sword 
"* 23 


per iugulum sinistrum capulo terms gladium 
totum ei demergit, et sanguinis eruptionem 
utriculo admoto excipit diligenter, ut nulla stilla 
compareret usquam : haec ego meis oculis aspexi. Nam 
etiam, ne quid demutaret, credo, a victimae religione, 
immissa dextera per vulnus illud ad viscera penitus, 
cor miseri contubernalis mei Meroe bona scrutata 
protulit, cum ille impetu teli praesecata gula vocem, 
immo stridorem incertum per vulnus effunderet 
et spiritum rebulliret. Quod vulnus qua maxime 
patebat spongia offulciens Panthia 'Heus tu ' inquit 
' Spongia, cave in mari nata per fluvium transeas.' 
His editis abeunt : remoto grabatulo varicus super 
faciem meara residentes vesicam exonerant, quoad 
me urinae spurcissimae madore perluerent. 
1 4 "Commodum limen evaserant, et fores ad pristinum 
staturh integrae resurgunt ; cardines ad foramina 
resident, postes ad repagula redeunt, ad claustra 
pessuli recurrunt. At ego ut eram etiam mine luimi 
proiectus, inanimis, nudus et frigidus et lotio per- 
litus, quasi recens utero matris editus, immo vero 
semimortuus, verum etiam ipse mihi supervivens et 
postumus, vel certe destinatae iam cruci candidates, 
' Quid ' inquani ' De me fiet, ubi iste iugulatus 
mane paruerit ? Cui videbor verisimilia dicere pro- 
ferens vera ? " Proclamares saltern suppetiatum, si 
resistere vir tantus mulieri nequibas : sub oculis tuis 


up to the hilt into the left part of his neck, and 
received the blood that gushed out with a small 
bladder, that no drop thereof fell beside ; this thing 
I saw with mine own eyes ; and then Meroe, to the 
intent (as I think) she might alter nothing that per- 
taineth to sacrifice, which she accustomed to make, 
thrust her hand down through that wound into the 
entrails of his body, and searching about, at length 
brought forth the heart of my miserable companion 
Socrates, who (having his throat cut in such sort) 
gave out a doleful cry by the wound, or rather a 
gasping breath, and gave up the ghost. Then Panthia 
stopped the wide wound of his throat with the sponge 
and said : * O, sponge sprung and made of the sea, 
beware that thou pass not over a running river.' 
This being said, they moved and turned up my bed, 
and then they strode over me and staled upon me 
till I was wringing wet. 

" When this was ended, they went their ways and 
the doors closed fast, the hinges sank in their old 
sockets, the bolts ran into the doorposts, the pins 
fell into the bars again. But I that lay upon the 
ground, like one without soul, naked and cold and 
wringing wet with filth, like to one that were newly 
born, or rather, one that were more than half dead, 
yet reviving myself, and appointed as I thought for 
the gallows, began to say : 'Alas, what shall become 
of me to-morrow when my companion shall be found 
murdered here in the chamber ? To whom shall I 
seem to tell any similitude of truth, when as I shall 
tell the truth indeed ? They will say : " If thou, 
being so great a man, wert unable to resist the 
violence of the woman, yet shouldst thou have cried 
at least for help ; wilt thou suffer the man to be 
slain before thy face and say nothing ? Or why did 


homo iugulatur, et siles ? Cur autem te simile latro- 
cinium non peremit ? Cur saeva crudelitas vel propter 
indicium sceleris arbitro pepercit ? Ergo quoniam 
evasisti mortem, nunc illo redi." ' 

" Haec identidem mecum replicabam, et nox ibat in 
diem : optimum itaque factu visum est anteluculo 
furtim evadere et viam licet trepido vestigio capes- 
sere. Sumo sarcinulam meam, subdita clavi pessulos 
reduco: at illae probae et fideles ianuae, quae sua 
sponte reseratae nocte fuerant, vix tandem et aeger- 
rime tune clavis suae crebra immissione patefiunt. 
15 Et ' Heus tu, ubi es?' inquam : ' Valvas stabuli 
absolve, antelucio volo ire.' Janitor pone stabuli 
ostium humi cubitans, etiam nunc semisomnus 
' Quid ? Tu ' inquit ' Ignoras latronibus infestari 
vias, qui hoc noctis iter incipis ? Nam etsi tu, 
alicuius facinoris tibi conscius scilicet, mori cupis, 
nos cucurbitae caput non habemus ut pro te moria- 
mur.' ' Non longe ' inquam ' Lux abest : et prae- 
terea quid viatori de summa pauperie latrones auferre 
possunt ? An ignoras, inepte, nudum nee a decem 
palaestritis despoliari posse ? ' Ad haec ille marci- 
dus et semisopitus in alterum latus evolutus ' Unde 
autem ' inquit ' Scio an convectore illo tuo, cum quo 
sero devorteras, iugulato fugae mandes praesidium ? ' 
" Illud horae memini me terra dehiscente ima Tar- 
tara inque his canem Cerberum prorsus esurientem 
mei prospexisse : ac recordabar profecto bonam 
Meroen non misericordia iugulp meo pepercisse sed 


not they slay thee likewise ? Why did their cruelty 
spare thee that stood by and saw them commit that 
horrible fact ? Wherefore although thou hast escaped 
their hands, yet thou shalt not escape ours." ' 

" While I pondered these things often with myself 
the night passed on into day, so I thought best to 
take my horse secretly before dawn and go fearfully 
forward on my journey. Thus I took up my packet, 
unlocked and unbarred the doors, but those good and 
faithful doors which in the night did open of their 
own accord could then scarcely be opened with their 
keys after frequent trials, and when I was out I 
cried : ' Ho, sirrah ostler, where art thou ? Open 
the stable door, for I will ride away before dawn.' 
The ostler lying behind the stable door upon a pallet 
and half asleep, ' What ? ' quoth he, ' Do not you 
know that the ways be very dangerous with robbers ? 
What mean you to set forth at this time of night? 
If you perhaps (guilty of some heinous crime) be 
weary of your life, yet think you not that we are 
such pumpkin-headed sots that we will die for you.' 
Then said I : ' It is well nigh day, and moreover what 
can thieves take from him that hath nothing ? Dost 
not thou know (fool as thou art) that if thou be naked, 
if ten trained wrestlers should assail thee, they could 
not spoil or rob thee ? ' Whereunto the drowsy ostler 
half asleep, and turning on the other side, answered : 
' What know I whether you have murdered your 
companion whom you brought in yesternight or no, 
and now seek safety by escaping away ? ' 

"O Lord, at that time I remember that the ?arth 
seemed to open, and that I saw at Hell gate the dog 
Cerberus gaping to devour me, and then I verily 
believed that Meroe did not spare my throat, moved 
with pity, but rather cruelly pardoned me to bring 



16 saevitia cruci me reservasse. In cubiculum itaque 
reversus de genere tumultuario mortis mecum deli- 
berabam. Sed cum nullum aliud telum mortiferum 
Fortuna quam solum mihigrabatulum subministraret, 
'lam iam grabatule ' inquam 'Animo meo caris- 
sime, qui mecum tot aerumnas exanclasti, conscius 
et arbiter quae nocte gesta sunt, quern solum in meo 
reatu testem innocentiae citare possum, tu mihi ad 
inferos festinanti submiiiistra telum salutare ' ; et 
cum dicto restim, qua erat intextus, aggredior ex- 
pedire ac tigillo, quod fenestrae subditum altrinsecus 
prominebat, iniecta atque obdita parte fuiiiculi et 
altera firmiter in iiodum coacta, ascenso grabatulo 
ad exitium sublimatus et immisso l capite laqueum 
induo. Sed dum pede altera fulcimentum quo sus- 
tinebar repello, ut ponderis deductu restis ad inglu- 
viem astricta spiritus officia discluderet, repente 
putris alioquin et vetus funis dirumpitur, atque ego 
de alto recidens Socratem nam iuxta me iacebat 

17 superruo cumque eo in terrain devolvor. Et ecce 
in ipso momento ianitor introrumpit exerte clami- 
tans 'Ubi es tu, qui alta nocte immodice festi- 
nabas, et mine stertis involutus ? ' Ad haec nescio an 
casu nostro an illius absono clamore experrectus 
Socrates exsurgit prior, et ' Nee ' inquit ' Immerito 
stabularios hos omnes hospites detestantur. Nam 
iste curiosus dum importune irrumpit credo studio 
rapiendi aliquid clamore vasto marcidum alioquin 
me altissimo somno excussit.' 

1 Oudendorp's correction for the MSS' misso. 


me to the gallows. Wherefore, I returned to my 
chamber and there devised with myself in what 
violent sort I should finish my life. But when I saw 
that fortune would minister unto me no other instru- 
ment than my bed, I said : ' O bed, O bed, most 
dear unto me at this present, which hast abode and 
suffered with me so many miseries, judge and arbiter 
of such things as were done here this night, whom 
only I may call to witness for my innocence, render 
(I say) unto me some wholesome weapon to end my 
life that am most willing to die.' And therewithal 
I pulled out a piece of the rope wherewith the bed 
was corded, and tied one end thereof about a rafter 
which stood forth beneath the window, and with the 
other end I made a sliding knot and stood upon my 
bed to cast myself from aloft into destruction, and so 
put my neck into it. But when I pushed away with 
my foot that which supported me beneath, so that 
the noose when my weight came upon it might choke 
the passage of my breath, behold suddenly the rope 
being old and rotten burst in the middle, and I fell 
down tumbling upon Socrates that lay nigh me, and 
with him i-olled upon the floor. And even at that 
very time the ostler came in crying with a loud 
voice, and said : ' Where are you that made such 
haste at deep night, and now lie wallowing and 
snoring abed ? ' Whereupon (I know not whether 
it was by our fall or by the harsh cry of the ostler) 
Socrates (as waking out of a sleep) did rise up first 
and said : ' It is not without cause that strangers 
do speak evil of all such ostlers, for this caitiff' in 
his coming in, and with his ci'ying out, I think 
under colour to steal away something, hath waked 
me, that was beside very weary, out of a sound 



" Emerge laetus atque alacer insperato gaudio per- 
fusus, et ' Ecce, ianitor fidelissime, comes et pater 
meus et frater meus, quern nocte ebrius occisum a 
me calumniabaris,' et cum dicto Socraten deosculabar 
amplexus : at ille odore alioquin spurcissimi humoris 
percussus, quo me Lamiae illae infecerant, vehementer 
aspernatur : ' Apage te ' inquit ' Fetorem extremae 
latrinae,' et causas coepit huius odoris comiter in- 
quirere. At ego miser afficto ex tempore absurdo 
ioco in alium sermonem interitionem eius denuo 
derivo et iniecta dextra ' Quin imus ' inquam ' Et 
itineris matutini gratiam capimus.' Sumo sarcinu- 
lam et pretio mansionis stabulario persoluto capessi 
mus viam. 

18 " Aliquantum processeramus et iam iubaris exortu 
cuncta collustrantur, et ego curiose sedulo arbitrabar 
iugulum comitis,qua parte gladium delapsum videram, 
et mecum ' Vesane/ aio ' Qui poculis et vino sepul- 
tus extrema somniasti. Ecce Socrates integer, sanus, 
incolumis. Ubi vulnus ? Spongia ubi ? Ubi pos- 
tremum cicatrix tarn alta, tarn recens ? ' et ad ilium 
' Ne ' inquam ' Immerito medici fidi cibo et crapula 
distentos saeva e. gi-avia somniare autumant : mini 
denique quod poculis vesperi minus temperavi, nox 
acerba diras et truces imagines obtulit, ut adhuc me 
credam cruore humano aspersum atque impiatum.' 


"Then I rose up joyful, as I hoped not to be, with 
A merry countenance, saying : ' Behold, good ostler, 
my friend, my companion and my brother whom 
thou being drunken in the night didst falsely affirm 
to be murdered by me.' And therewithal I embraced 
my friend Socrates and kissed him ; but he smelling 
the stink wherewith those hags had embrued me, 
thrust me away and said : ' Away with thee with 
thy filthy odour,' and then he began gently to 
enquire how that noisome scent happened unto me, 
but I (with some light jest feigning and colouring 
the matter for the time) did break off his talk into 
another path, and take him by the hand and said : 
< Why tarry we ? Why leave we the pleasure of this 
fair morning ? Let us go.' And so I took up my 
packet, and pa:d the charges of the house, and we 

" We had not gone a mile out of the town but it 
was broad day, and then I diligently looked upon 
Socrates' throat to see if I could espy the place 
where Meroe thrust in her sword, and I thought with 
myself : ' What a madman am I, that (being overcome 
with wine yesternight) have dreamed such terrible 
things ! Behold, I see Socrates is sound, safe and in 
health. Where is his wound ? Where is the sponge ? 
Where is his great and new cut ? ' And then I spake 
to him and said : ' Verily it is not without occasion 
that physicians of experience do affirm, that such as 
fill their gorges abundantly with meat and drink 
shall dream of dire and horrible sights, for I myself 
(not restraining mine appetite yesternight from the 
pots of wine) did seem to see in this bitter night 
strange and cruel visions, that even yet I think 
myself sprinkled and wet with human blood ' ; 
whereunto Socrates laughing, made answer and said : 



Ad haec ille subridens ' At tu ' inquit 'Non sanguine 
sed lotio perfusus es, verum tamen et ipse per som- 
nium iugulari visus sum mihi. Nam et iugulum istum 
dolui et cor ipsum mihi avelli putavi et nunc etiam 
spiritu deficior et genua quatior et gradu titubo et 
aliquid cibatus refovendo spiritu desidero.' ' En ' 
inquam ' Paratum tibi adest ientaculum/ et cum 
dicto manticam meam humero exuo, caseum cum 
pane propere ei porrigo, et ' luxta platanum istam 
residamus ' aio. 

19 "Quo facto et ipse aliquki indidem sumo, eumque 
avide esitantem aspicio aliquanto intentiore macie 
atque pallore buxeo deficientem video. Sic denique 
eum vitalis color turbaverat ut mihi prae metu, 
nocturnas etiam Furias illas imaginanti, frustulum 
panis quod primum sumpseram, quamvis admodum 
modicum, niediis faucibus inhaereret, ac neque 
deorsum demeare neque sursum remeare posset. 
Nam et crebritas ipsa commeantium metum mihi 
cumulabat : quis enim de duobus comitum alterum 
sine alterius noxa peremptum crederet ? Verum ille, 
ut satis detruncaverat cibum, sitire impatienter 
coeperat ; nam et optimi casei bonam partem avide 
devoraverat, et haud ita longe radices platani lenis 
fluvius in speciem placidae paludis ignavus ibat 
argento vel vitro aemulus in colorem. ' En ' inquam 
' Explere latice fontis lacteo.' Assurgit ille et 
oppertus paululum planiorem ripae marginem com- 
plicitus in genua appronat se avidus affectans 


' Nay, thou art not wet with the blood of men, but 
thou art embrued with stinking filth : and verily I 
myself dreamed this night that my throat was cut 
and that I felt the pain of the wound, and that my 
heart was pulled out of my belly, and the remem- 
brance thereof makes me now to fear, and my knees 
do tremble that I totter in my gait, and therefore I 
would fain eat somewhat to strengthen and revive 
my spirits.' Then said I : ' Behold, here is thy break- 
fast,' and therewithal I opened my scrip that 
hanged upon my shoulder, and gave him bread and 
cheese, and ' Let us sit down,' quoth I, ' Under that 
great plane-tree.' 

" Now I also ate part of the same with him : and 
while I beheld him eating greedily, I perceived that 
he wore thin and meagre and pale as boxwood, and 
that his lively colour faded away, as did mine also, 
remembering those terrible furies of whom I lately 
dreamed, in so much that the first morsel of bread 
that I put in my mouth (which was but very small) 
did so stick in my jaws that I could neither swallow 
it down nor yet yield it up ; and moreover th,e 
number of them that passed by increased my fear, 
for who is he, that would believe that one of two 
companions die in the high way without injury done 
by the other? But when that Socrates had eaten 
sufficiently he wore very thirsty, for indeed he had 
well nigh devoured a whole good cheese, and behold 
there was behind the roots of the plane-tree a 
pleasant running water which went gently like to a 
quiet pond, as clear as silver or crystal, and I said 
unto him : ' Come hither, Socrates, to this water and 
drink thy fill as it were milk.' And then he rose, 
and waiting a little he found a flat space by the 
river and kneeled down by the side of the bank in 

c S3 


poculum : necdum satis extremis labiis summum aquae 
rorem attigerat, et iugulo eius vulnus dehiscit in 
profundum patorem, et ilia spongia de eo repente 
devolvitur eamque parvus admodum comitatur cruor: 
denique corpus exanimatum in flumen paene cernuat, 
nisi ego altero eius pede retento vix et aegre ad 
ripam superiorem attraxi, ubi defletum pro tempore 
comitem misellum arenosa humo in amnis vicinia 
sempiterna contexi. Ipse trepidus et eximie metuens 
mihi per diversas et avias solitudines aufugi et quasi 
conscius mihi caedis humanae relicta patria et Lare 
ultroneum exilium amplexus nunc Aetoliam novo 
contracto matrimonio colo." 

20 Haec Aristomenes. At ille comes eius, qui statim 
initio obstinata incredulitate sermonem eius respuebat, 
" Nihil " inquit " Hac fabula fabulosius, nihil isto 
mendacio absurdius/' et ad me conversus " Tu autem " 
inquit " Vir, ut habitus et habitudo demonstrat, 
ornatus, accredis x huic fabulae ? " "Ego vero" 
inquam "Nihil impossibile arbitror, sed utcumque 
fata decreverint, ita cuncta mortalibus provenire : 
nam et mihi et tibi et cunctis homiriibus multa usu 
venire mira et paene infecta, quae tamen ignaro 
relata fidem perdant. Sed ego huic et credo Hercule 
et gratas gratias memini, quod lepidae fabulae festivi- 
tate nos avocavit ; asperam denique ac prolixam viam 
sine labore ac taedio evasi. Quod beneficium etiam 
ilium vectorem meum credo laetari : sine fatigatione 

1 So Petschenig for the MSS' accedis. 


his greedy desire to drink ; but he had scarce touched 
the water with his lips when behold, the wound of 
his throat opened wide, and the sponge suddenly fell 
into the water and after issued out a little remnant 
of blood, and his body (being then without life) had 
fallen into the river, had not I caught him by the 
leg, and so with great ado pulled him up. And after 
that I had lamented a good space the death of my 
wretched companion, I buried him in the sands to 
dwell for ever there by the river. Which done, 
trembling and in great fear I rode through many 
outways and desert places, and as if culpable of 
murder, I forsook my country, my wife and my 
children, and came to Aetolia, an exile of my own 
free will, where I married another wife." 

This tale told Aristomenes, and his fellow which 
before obstinately would give no credit unto him, 
began to say : " Verily there was never so foolish a 
tale, nor a more absurd lie told than this" ; and then 
he spake unto me, saying : " Ho, sir, what you are I 
know not, but your habit and countenance declareth 
that you should be some honest gentleman, do you 
believe his tale ? " " Yea, verily," quoth I, " Why 
not ? I think nothing impossible ; for whatsoever the 
fates have appointed to men, that I believe shall 
happen. For many things chance unto me, and unto 
you, and to divers others, wonderful and almost 
unheard of, which being declared unto the ignorant 
be accounted as lies.f But verily I give credit unto 
his tale, and render entire thanks unto him in that 
(by the pleasant relation of this pretty tale) he hath 
distracted us so that I have quickly passed and 
shortened this long and weariful journey, and I think 
that my horse also was delighted with the same, and 
he brought me to the gate of this city without any 



sui me usque ad istam civitatis portam non dorso 
illius sed meis auribus provecto." 

'21 Is finis nobis et sermonis et itineris communis 
fuit : nam comites utrique ad villulam proximam 
laevorsum abierunt. Ego vero quod primum in- 
gressu stabulum conspicatus sum, accessi, et de 
quadam anu caupona illico percontor " Estne " 
inquam " Hypata haec ci vitas ? " Adnuit. " Nostine 
Milonem quendam e primoribus ? " Arrisit et 
"Vere" inquit "Primus istic perhibetur Milo, qui 
extra pomerium et urbem totam colit." " Remote " 
iuquam " loco, parens optima, die oro et cuiatis sit 
et quibus deversetur aedibus ? " " Videsne " inquit 
" Extremas fenestras, quae foris urbem prospiciunt et 
altrinsecus fores pvoximum respicientes angiportum? 
Inibi iste Milo deversatur ampliter nummatus et 
longe opulentus, verum extremae avaritiae et sordis 
infimae infamis homo, foenus denique copiosum sub 
arrabone auri et argenti crebriter exercens, exiguo 
Lare inclusus et aerugini semper intentus, cum 
. uxorem etiam calamitatis suae comitem habeat. 
Neque praeter unicam pascit ancillam et habitu 
mendicantis semper incedit." 

Ad haec ego risum subicio : " Benigne " inquam 
" Et prospicue Demeas meus in me consuluit, qui 
peregrinaturum tali viro conciliavit, in cuius hos- 
22 pitio nee fumi nee nidoris nebulam vererer," et cum 
dicto modico secus progressus ostium accedo et 
ianuam firmiter oppessulatam pulsare vocaliter incipio. 


pain at all, not so much by his back, as by mine own 

Thus ended both our talk and our journey, for 
the}' two turned on the left hand to the next village, 
and I rode up to the first inn that I saw, and I espied 
an old woman, of whom I enquired whether that city 
was called Hypata or no, who answered : " Yes." 
Then I demanded whether she knew one Milo, one 
of the first men of the city, whereat she laughed, 
and said : "Verily it is not without cause that Milo 
is accounted first in the city, for he dwells altogether 
without the boundary." To whom I said again : " I 
pray thee, good mother, do not mock, but tell me 
what manner of man he is, and where he dwelleth." 
" Marry," quoth she, " Do not you see those bay 
windows, which on the one side look out upon the 
city, and the doors on the other side to the next 
lane : there Milo dwells, very rich both in money 
and substance, but by reason of his great avarice and 
covetousness he is evil spoken of, and he is a man 
that liveth all by usury, and lending his money upon 
pledges of silver and gold. Moreover he dwelleth 
in a small house and is ever counting his money, and 
hath a wife that is a companion of his extreme 
misery, neither keepeth he any more in his house 
than one only maid, and he goes apparelled like unto 
a beggar." 

Which when I heard I laughed with myself and 
thought : " In faith, my friend Demeas hath served 
me well and with forethought, which hath sent me, 
being a stranger, unto such a man, in whose house I 
shall not be troubled either with smoke or with the 
scent of meat," and therewithal I rode to the door, 
which was fast barred, and knocked aloud and cried. 
Then there came forth a maid which said : " Ho, 



Tandem adulescentula quaedam procedens " Heus 
tu " inquit " Qui tarn fortiter fores verberasti, sub 
qua specie mxituari cupis ? An tu solus ignoras 
prater aurum argentumque nullum nos pignus 
admittere?" " Meliora " iiiquam " Ominare, et 
potius responde an intra aedes erum tuura offen- 
derim." "Plane;" inquit " Sed quae causa quaes- 
tionis huius ? " " Litteras ei a Corinthio Demea 
scfiptas ad eum reddo." "Dum annuntio," inquit 
" Hie ibidem me opperimino," et cum dicto rursum 
foribus oppessulatis intro capessit. Modico deinde 
regressa patefactis foribus " Rogat te " inquit. Intuli 
me eumque accubantum exiguo admodum grabatulo 
et commodum cenare incipientem invenio : assidebat 
pedes uxor et mensa vacua posita, cuius monstratu 
"En" inquit " Hospitium." "Bene"ego, et illico 
ei litteras Demeae trado. Quibus propei-iter lectis 
" Amo " inquit " Meum Demean, qui mihi tantum 
23 conciliavit hospitem," et cum dicto iubet uxorem 
decedere utque in eius locum assidam iubet, meque 
etiam nunc verecundia cunctantem arrepta lacinia 
detrahens " Asside " inquit " Istic : nam prae metu 
latronum nulla sessibula ac ne sufficientem supel- 
lectilem parare nobis licet." 

Feci, et " Sic ego te " inquit "Etiam de ista corporis 
speciosa habitudine deque hac virginali prorsus vere- 
cundia generosa stirpe proditum et recte conicerem, 
sed et meus Demeas eadem litteris pronuntiat. Ergo 
brevitatem gurgustioli nostri ne spernas peto. Erit 


sirrah, that knock so fast, in what kind of sort will 
you borrow money ; know you not that we use to take 
no pledge unless it be either gold or silver ? " To 
whom I answered : " I pray thee, maid, speak more 
gently, and tell me whether thy master be within or 
no." "Yes," quoth she, "That he is; why do you 
ask ? " " Marry," said I, " I am come from Corinth, 
and have brought him letters from Demeas his 
friend." Then said the maid : " I pray you tarry 
here till I tell him so," and therewithal she closed the 
doors and went in, and after a while she returned 
again, and said : " My master desireth you to come 
in " ; and so I did, where I found him sitting upon a 
very little bed, just going to supper, and his wife sat 
at his feet, but there was no meat upon the table ; 
and, pointing at it, " Behold," said he, " Your enter- 
tainment." " Well," quoth I, and straightway 
delivered to him the letters which 1 brought from 
Demeas : which when he had quickly read, he said : 
" Verily, I thank my friend Demeas very much, in 
that he hath sent me so worthy a guest as you are " : 
and therewithal he commanded his wife to sit away, 
and bade me sit in her place, and when I was about 
refusing by reason of courtesy, he pulled me by the 
garment and willed me to sit down. " For we have," 
quoth he, " No other stool here, nor other great store 
of household stuff for fear of robbing." 

Then I (according to his commandment) sat down : 
and he fell into communication with me, and said : 
" Verily I conjecture (and rightly) by the comely 
feature of your body, and by the maidenly shame- 
fastness of your face, that you are a gentleman born, 
as my friend Demeas hath no less declared the same 
in his letters : wherefore I pray you, take in good 
part our poor lodgings, and behold, yonder chamber 



tibi adiacens et ecce illud cubiculum honestum re* 
ceptaculum : fac libenter cleverseris in nostro. Nam 
et maiorem domurn dignatione tua feceris et tibi 
specimen gloriosum arrogaris, si contentus Lare 
parvulo Thesei illius cognominis patris tui virtutes 
aemulaveris, qui non est aspernatus Hecales anus 
hospitium tenue " : et vocata anciliula, " Fotis," inquit 
" Sarcinulas hospitis susceptas cum fide conde in illud 
cubiculum, ac simul ex promptuario oleum unctui et 
lintea tersui et cetera huic eidem usui prefer ociter 
et hospitem meum produc ad proximas balneas : satis 
24 arduo itinere atque prolixo fatigatus est." His ego 
auditis mores atque parsimoniam ratiocinans Milonis, 
volensque me artius ei conciliate, " Nihil " inquam 
" Rerum istarum, quae itineris ubique nos comitantur, 
indigemus. Sed et balneas facile percontHbimur. 
Plane quod est mihi summe praecipuum, equo, qui 
me strenue pervexit, faenum atque hordeum acceptis 
istis nummulis tu, Fotis^ emito." 

His actis et rebus meis in illo cubiculo conditis 
pergens ipse ad balneas, ut prius aliquid nobis cibatui 
prospicerem, forum cupidinis peto inque eo piscatum 
opiparem expositum video et percontato pretio, quod 
centum nummis indicaret, aspernatus viginti denariis 
praestinavi. Inde me comniodum egredientem con- 
tinuatur Pythias condiscipulus apud Athenas Atticas 
meus, qui me post aliquam multum temporis avnanter 
agnitum invadit, amplexusque ac comiter deosculatus 


hard by is at your commandment, use it as your own ; 
then you shall both magnify our house by your 
deigning and shall gain to yourself good report, if, 
being contented with a humble lodging, you shall 
resemble and follow the virtuous qualities of your 
good father's namesake Theseus, who disdained not 
the slender and poor cottage of old Hecale." And 
then he called his maid, which was named Fotis, and 
said : "Carry this gentleman's packet into the cham- 
ber and lay it up safely, and bring quickly from the 
cupboard oil to anoint him, and a towel to rub him, 
and other things necessary ; and then bring my guest 
to the nearest baths, for I know he is very weary of 
so long and difficult travel." These things when I 
heard, I partly perceived the manners and parsimony 
of Milo, and (endeavouring to bring myself further 
in his favour) I said : " Sir, there is no need of any 
of these things, for they are everywhere my com- 
panions by the way ; and easily I shall enquire my 
way unto the baths, but my chief care is that my 
horse be well looked to, for he brought me hither 
roundly, and therefore, I pray thee, Fotis, take this 
money and buy some hay and oats for him." 

When this was done and all my things brought 
into the chamber, I walked towards the baths, but 
first I went to the provision market to buy some 
victuals for my supper, whereas I saw great plenty 
of fish set out to be sold, and so I cheapened 
part thereof, and that which they first held 
at an hundred pieces, I bought at length for 
twenty pence : which when I had done and was 
departing away, Pythias, one of mine old companions 
and fellow at Athens, fortuned to pass by, and 
viewing me a good space, in the end brought me 
kindly to his remembrance, and gently came and 



" Mi Luci," ait " Sat Pol diu est quod intervisimus te, 
at Hercule exinde cum a Vestio l magistro digressi 
sumus. Quae autem tibi causa peregrinationis huius ? " 
" Crastino die scies : " inquam " Sed quid istud ? Voti 
gaudeo : nam et lixas et virgas et habitum prorsus 
magistratui congruentem in te video." " Annonam 
curamus/' ait "Et aedilem gerimus, et si quid obsonare 
cupis, utique commodabimus." Abnuebam, quippe 
qui iam cenae affatim piscatum prospexeramus : sed 
enim Pythias visa sportula, succussisque in aspectum 
planiorem piscibus, "At has quisquilias quanti 
parasti ? " " Vix " inquam "Piscatori extorsimus acci- 
25 pere viginti denarios." Quo audito statim arrepta 
dextera postliminio me in forum cupidinis reducens 
" Et a quo " inquit " Istorum nugamenta haec com- 
parasti ? " Demonstro seniculum : in angulo sedebat. 
Quern confestim pro aedilitatis imperio voce asperrima 
increpans " Iam iam " inquit " Nee amicis quidem nos- 
tris vel omnino ullis hospitibus parcitis, quod tarn 
magnis pretiis pisces frivolos indicatis et florem 
Thessalicae regionis ad instar solitudinis et scopuli 
edulium caritate deducitis ? Sed non impune : iam 

1 The name, whatever it is, has been corrupted in the MSS 
to Dstio. Other suggestions are Dositheo and Clytio. 


kissed me, saying : " O my dear friend Lucius, it is a 
great while past since we two saw each other, and 
moreover, from the time that we departed from our 
master Vestius I never heard any news of you ; I 
pray you, Lucius, tell me the cause of your peregrina- 
tion hither." Then I answered and said : " I will 
make relation thereof unto you to-morrow : but what 
is this ? Verily I think that you have obtained your 
own desire, whereof I am right glad. For I see 
these servitors that follow you, and these rods or 
verges which they bear : and this habit which you 
wear, like unto a magistrate." Then answered 
Pythias: "I bear the office and rule of the clerk of 
the market, and therefore if you will aught for your 
supper, speak and I will purvey it for ) 7 ou." Then I 
thanked him heartily and said I had bought fish 
sufficient already for my dinner, but Pythias, when 
he espied my basket, took it and shook it, so that 
the fish might come to view, and demanded of me 
what I paid for all my sprats. " In faith," quoth I, 
" I could scarce enforce the fishmonger to sell them 
for twenty pence" ; which when he heard, he seized 
my hand and brought me back again into the market, 
and enquired of me of whom I had bought such 
wretched stuff. I shewed him the old man which 
sat in a corner, whom straightway (by reason of his 
office) he did greatly blame, and said : " Is it thus 
that you serve and handle strangers ? And especially 
our friends ? Wherefore sell you this fish so dear 
which is not worth a halfpenny ? Now perceive I 
well that you are an occasion to make this place, 
which is the flower of all Thessaly, to be forsaken of 
all men and reduce it into an uninhabitable rock, by 
reason of your excessive prices of victuals ; but assure 
yourself that you shall not escape without punish- 



enim faxo scias quemadmodum sub meo magisterio 
mali debent coerceri/' et profusa in medium sportula 
iubet officialem suum insuper pisces inscendere ac 
pedibus suis totos obterere. Qua contentus morum 
severitudine meus Pythias, ac mihi ut abirem 
suadens, " Sufficit mihi, o Luci," inquit " Seniculi 
tanta haec contumelia." His actis consternatus ac 
prorsus obstupidus ad balneas me refero, prudentis 
condiscipuli valido consilio et nummis simul privatus 
et cena, lautusque ad hospitium Milonis ac dehinc 
cubiculum me reporto. 

26 Et ecce Fotis ancilla " Rogat te " inquit "Hospes." 
At ego iam inde Milonis abstinentiae cognitor ex- 
cusavi comiter, quod viae vexationem non cibo sed 
somno censerem diluendam. Isto accepto pergit 
ipse et iniecta dextera clementer me trahere ado- 
ritur : ac dum cunctor, dum modeste renitor, " Non 
prius " inquit " Discedam quam me sequaris," et 
dictum iureiurando secutus iam obstinationi suae 
me ingratis oboedientem perducit ad ilium suum 
grabatulum, et residenti "Quam salve agit" inquit 
" Demeas noster ? Quid uxor ? Quid liberi ? Quid 
vernaculi?" Narro singula. Percontatur accuratius 
causas etiam peregrinationis meae ; quas ubi probe 
protuli, iam et de patria nostra et eius primoribus 



ment, and you shall know what mine office is, and 
how I ought to punish such as do offend." Then he 
took my basket and cast the fish on the ground, and 
commanded one of his servants to tread them all 
under his feet ; so doing was Pythias well pleased 
with the severity he shewed in his office, and bade 
me farewell, and said that he was content with the 
shame and reproach done unto the old caitiff. So I 
went away, all amazed and astonished, towards the 
baths, considering with myself, and devising of the 
strong hand of that so prudent companion of mine, 
Pythias, whereby I had lost both my money and my 
meat : and there, when 1 had washed and refreshed 
my body, I returned again to Milo's house, and so 
got into my chamber. 

Then came Fotis immediately unto me, and said 
that her master desired me to come to supper, but I 
(not ignorant of Milo's abstinence) prayed courteously 
that I might be pardoned, since I thought best to ease 
my weary bones rather with sleep and quietness than 
with meat. When Fotis had told this unto Milo, he 
came himself and took me by the hand to draw me 
gently with him, and while I did hold back and 
modestly excuse me, " I will not," quoth he, " Depart 
from this place until such time as you shall go with 
me," and to confirm the same he bound his words 
with an oath, whereby with insistence he enforced 
me all against my will to follow him and he brought 
me into his chamber, where he sat me down upon the 
bed, and demanded of me how his friend Demeas did, 
his wife, his children, and all his family ; and I made 
him answer to every question ; and specially he 
enquired the causes of my peregrination and travel ; 
which when 1 had declared, he yet busily enquired of 
the state of my country, and the chief citizens, and 



ac denique de ipso praeside scrupulosissime ex- 
plorans, ubi me post itineris tarn saevi vexationem 
sensit fabularum quoque serie fatigatum in verba 
media somnolentum desinere ac nequicquam, de- 
t'ectum iam, incerta verborum salebra balbutire, 
tandem patitur cubitum concederem. Evasi ali- 
quando rancidi senis loquax et famelicum convivium 
somno, non cibo, sravatus, cenatus solis fabulis et in 
cubiculum reversus optatae me quieti reddidi. 


principally of our Lieutenant and Viceroy. And 
when he perceived that I was not only wearied by 
my hard travel but also with talk, and that I fell 
asleep in the midst of my tale, and further that I 
spake nothing directly or advisably, but babbled only 
in imperfect words, he suffered me to depart to my 
chamber. So escaped I at length from the prattling 
and hungry supper of this rank old man, and being 
heavy with sleep and not with meat (as having 
supped only with talk) I returned unto my chamber 
and there betook me to my quiet and long-desired 


1 UT primum nocte discussa sol novus diem fecit, 
et somno simul emersus et lectulo, anxius alioquin et 
nimis cupidus cognoscendi quae rara miraque sunt, 
reputansque me media Thessaliae loca tenere, quo 
artis magicae nativa contamina totius orbis consono 
ore celebrentur, fabulamque illam optimi comitis 
Aristomenis de situ civitatis huius exortam, sus- 
pensus alioquin et voto simul et studio, curiose 
singula considerabam. Nee fuit in ilia civitate quod 
aspiciens id esse erederem quod esset, sed omnia 
prorsus ferali murmure in aliam effigiem translata, 
ut et lapides quos offenderem de homine duratos, et 
aves quas audirem indidem plumatas, et arbores quae 
pomerium ambirent similiter foliatas, et fontanos 
latices de corporibus humanis fluxos erederem. lam 
statuas et imagines incessuras, pai'ietes locuturos, 
boves et id genus pecua dicturas praesagium, de 
ipso vero caelo et iubaris orbe subito venturum 



As soon as night was past and the new day began to 
spring, I fortuned to awake and rose out of my bed 
as half amazed, and indeed very desirous to know 
and see some marvellous and strange things, re- 
membering with myself that I was in the midst part 
of all Thessaly, where, by the common report of all 
the world, is the birthplace of sorceries and enchant- 
ments, and I oftentimes repeated with myself the 
tale of my companion Aristomenes whereof the scene 
was set in this city ; all agog moreover (being moved 
both by desire and my own especial longing) I viewed 
the whole situation thereof with care. Neither was 
there anything which I saw there that I did believe 
to be the same which it was indeed, but everything 
seemed unto me to be transformed into other shapes 
by the wicked power of enchantment, in so much that 
I thought the stones against which I might stumble 
were indurate and turned from men into that figure, 
and that the birds which I heard chirping, and the 
trees without the walls of the city, and the running 
waters were changed from men into such feathers 
and leaves and fountains. And further I thought 
that the statues and images would by and by move, 
and that the walls would talk, and the kine and 
other brute beasts would speak and tell strange news, 
and that immediately I should hear some oracle from 
the heaven and from the ray of the sun. 

D 4" 


Sic attonituSj immo vero cruciabili desiderio 
stupidus, nullo quidem initio vel omnino vestigio 
cupidinis meae reperto cuncta circumibam tamen, 
dum luxum nepotalem simulantia 1 ostiatim singula 
pererro, repente me nescius forum cupidinis intuli ; 
et ecce mulierem quampiam frequenti stipatam 
famulitione ibidem gradientem accelerate vestigio 
comprehendo : aurum in gemmis et in tunicis, ibi 
inflexum, hie intextum, matronam profecto confite- 
batur. Huius adhaerebat lateri senex iam gravis in 
annis, qui. ut primum me conspexit, " Est " inquit 
" Hercule Lucius/' et offert osculum et statim in- 
certum quidnam in aurern mulieris obganniit. 
" Quin " inquit " Etiam ipse parentem tuam accedis et 
salutas ? " " Vereor" inquam " Ignotae mihi feminae," 
et statim rubore suffusus deiecto capite restiti. At 
ilia obtutum in me conversa "En" inquit " Sanctis- 
simae Salviae matris generosa probitas. Sed et cetera 
corporis execrabiliter ad regulam sunt congruentia: 
inenormis proceritas, succulenta gracilitas, rubor 
temperatus, flavum et inafFectatum capillitium, oculi 
caesii quidem sed vigiles et in aspectu micantes, 
prorsus aquilinij os quoquoversum noridum^ speciosus 
et immeditatus incessus." 

Et adiecit "Ego te, O Luci, meis istis maiiibus 
educavi ; quidni ? Parentis tuae non modo sanguinis^ 
verum alimoniarum etiam socia ; nam et familia 
Plutarchi ambae prognatae sumus, et eandem nu- 

l There is here a gap in the MSS which has been filled 
in by a later hand. These three words are fairly near the 
meaningless MsS' reading, and can be construed. 



Thus being astonished and dismayed, nay dumb- 
founded with the longing that did torment me, though 
I found no beginning nor indeed any trace to satisfy 
my curious desire, I went nevertheless from door to 
door, and at length, like some luxurious person 
strolling at my ease, I fortuned unawares to come 
into the market-place, where I espied a certain 
woman accompanied with a great many servants, 
walking apace, towards whom I drew nigh and 
viewed her precious stones set with gold and her 
garments woven with the same in such sort that she 
seemed to be some noble matron : and there was an 
old man which followed her : who (as soon as he had 
espied me) said : " Verily this is Lucius," and then 
he came and embraced me, and by and by he went 
unto his mistress, and whispered in her ear, and 
came to me again, saying : " How is it, Lucius, that 
you will not salute your dear cousin and friend ? " 
To whom I answered : " Sir, I dare not be so bold 
as to take acquaintance of an unknown woman." 
Howbeit as half ashamed with blushes and hanging 
head I drew back, she turned her gaze upon me and 
said : " Behold how he resembleth the same noble 
dignity as his modest mother Salvia doth; behold 
his countenance and body agreeing thereto in each 
point, behold his comely stature, his graceful slender- 
ness, his delicate colour, his hair yellow and not too 
foppishly dressed, his grey and quick eyes shining 
like unto the eagle's, his blooming countenance in 
all points, and his grave and comely gait." And 
moreover she said : " O Lucius, I have nourished 
thee with mine own proper hands, and why not ? 
For I am not only of kindred unto thy mother by 
blood, but also her foster-sister ; for we are both 
descended of the line of Plutarch, sucked the same 


tricem simul bibimus, et in nexu germanitatis una 
coaluimus : nee aliud nos quam dignitas discernit, 
quod ilia clarissimas, ego privatas nuptias fecerimus. 
Ego sum Byrrhaena ilia, cuius forte saepicule nomen 
inter tuos frequentatum educatores retines. Accede 
itaque hospitium fiducia, immo vero iam tuum pro- 
prium Larem." Ad haec ego, iam sermonis ipsius 
mora rubore digesto, "Absit" inquam " Parens, ut 
Milonem hospitem sine ulla querela deseram ; sed 
plane quod officiis integris potest effici, curabo sedulo: 
quoties itineris huius ratio nascetur, numquam erit ut 
non apud te devertar." 

Dum hunc et huiusmodi sermonem altercamur, 
paucis admodum confectis passibus ad domum Byr- 
4 rhaenae pervenimus. Atria longe pulcherrima co- 
lumnis quadrifariam per singulos angulos stantibus 
attolerabant statuas, palmaris deae facies, quae pinnis 
explicitis sine gressu, pilae volubilis instabile ves- 
tigium plantis roscidis delibantes, 1 nee ut maneant 
inhaerent, et iam volare creduntur. Ecce lapis 
Parius in Dianam factus tenet libi-atam totius loci 
medietatem, signum perfecte luculentum, veste re- 
natum, procursu vegetum, introeuntibus obvium et 
maiestate numinis venerabile : canes utrimquesecus 
deae latera muniunt, qui canes et ipsi lapis erant ; 
his oculi minantur, aures rigent, nares hiant, ora 
saeviunt et sicunde de proximo latratus ingruerit, 

i Colvin's emendation for the MSS' decitantea. Helm 
suggests detinentes. 



paps, and were brought up together as sisters in one 
house ; and further there is no other difference 
between us two, but that she is married more 
honourably than I : I am the same Byrrhaena whom 
you have perhaps often heard named as one of those 
that reared you. Wherefore I pray you to come 
with all confidence to my house nay, use it as your 
own." By whose words my blushes had time to 
disperse, and I said : " God forbid, cousin, that I 
should forsake mine host Milo without any just and 
reasonable cause, but verily I will do as much as 
I may without hurt to the duties of a guest, and 
as often as I have occasion to pass by your house I 
will come and see how you do." 

While we went talking thus together, in a very 
few steps we came to her house ; and behold the 
court of the same was very beautiful set with pillars 
quadrangularwise, on the top whereof were placed 
carven statues and images of the goddess of Victory, 
so lively and with such excellency portrayed and with 
wings spread forth, their dewy feet just poised upon 
motionless globes, that you would verily have thought 
that they had flown, and were hovering with their 
wings hither and thither. There also the image ol 
Diana, wrought in white marble, stood in the midst 
of all, holding all in balance, which was a marvellous 
sight to see, for she seemed as though the wind did 
blow up her garments, striding briskly forward, so 
that she was now to encounter with them that came 
into the house, a goddess very venerable and majestic 
to see : on each side of her were dogs made also of 
stone, that seemed to menace with their fiery eyes, 
their pricked ears, their wide nostrils and their 
grinning teeth, in such sort that if any dogs in 
the neighbourhood had bayed and barked, you 



eum putabis de faucibus lapidis exire, et, in quo 
summum specimen operae fabrilis egregius ille signi- 
fex prodidit, sublatis canibus in pectus arduis pedes 
imi resistunt, currunt priores. Pone tergum deae 
saxum insurgit in speluncae modum, muscis et herbis 
et foliis et virgulis et sicubi pampinis et arbusculis 
alibi de lapide florentibus : splendet intus umbra 
signi de nitore lapidis. Sub extrema saxi margine 
poma et uvae faberrime politae dependent, quas ars 
aemula naturae veritati similes explicuit ; putes ad 
cibura inde quaedam, cum mustulentus autumnus 
maturum colorem afflaverit, posse decerpi, et si 
fontem, qui deae vestigio discurrens in leiiem vibra- 
tur undam, pronus aspexeris, credes illos ut rure 
pendentes racemos inter cetera veritatis nee agita- 
tionis officio carere. Inter medias frondes lapidis 
Actaeon curioso obtutu in deam sursum proiectus, 
iam in cervum ferinus et in saxo simul et in fonte 
loturam Dianam opperiens visitur. 

5 Dum haec identidem rimabundus eximie delector, 
" Tua sunt " ait Byrrhaena " Cuncta quae vides " ; et 
cum dicto ceteros omnes sermone secreto decedere 
praecipit. Quibus dispulsis omnibus, " Per hanc " in- 
quit " Deam, O Luci carissime, ut anxie tibi metuo et 


would have thought the sound came from their stony 
throats. And moreover (which was a greater marvel 
to behold) the excellent carver and deviser of this 
work had fashioned the dogs to stand up fiercely 
with their former feet ready to sun, and their hinder 
feet set firmly on the ground. Behind the back of 
the goddess was carved a stone rising in manner of 
a cavern, environed with moss, herbs, leaves, sprigs, 
green branches, and boughs of vines growing in and 
about the same, and within the image of the statue 
glistened and shone marvellously upon the stone ; 
under the brim of the rock hung apples and grapes 
polished finely, wherein art (envying nature) shewed 
its great cunning : for they were so lively set out 
that you would have thought that now autumn, the 
season of wine, had breathed upon them the colour 
of ripeness, and that they might have been pulled 
and eaten ; and if, bending down, thou didst behold 
the running water, which seemed to spring and leap 
under the feet of the goddess, thou mightest mark the 
grapes which hung down and seemed even to move 
and stir like the very grapes of the vine. Moreover 
amongst the branches of the stone appeared the 
image of Acteon looking eagerly upon the goddess : 
and both in the stream and in the stone he might be 
seen already beginning to be turned into a hart as he 
waited to spy Diana bathe. 

And while I was greatly delighted with exploring 
the view of these things, Byrrhaena spake to me 
and said: "Cousin, all things here be at your 
commandment." And therewithal she willed all 
the residue to depart from our secrqt conference, 
who being gone she said : " My most dear cousin 
Lucius, I swear by this goddess Diana that I do 
greatly fear for your safety, and am as careful for you 



ut pote pigiiori raeo longe provisum cupio ; cave tibi, 
sed cave for liter, a mails artibus et facinorosis illece- 
bris Pamphiles illius, quae cum Milone isto, quern 
dicis hospitem, nupta est : maga primi nominis et 
omnis carminis sepulchralis magistra creditur, quae 
surculis et lapillis et id genus frivolis inhalatis omnem 
istam lucem mundi sideralis imis Tartari et in vetus- 
tum chaos submergere novit. Nam simul quemque 
conspexerit speciosae formae iuvenem, venustate eius 
sumitur et illico in eum et oculum et animum detor- 
quet : serit blanditias, invadit spiritum, amoris pro- 
fundi pedicis aeternis alligat. Tune minus morigeros 
et viles fastidio in saxa et in pecua et quodvis 
animal puncto reformat, alios vero prorsus extinguit. 
Haec tibi trepido et cavenda censeo : nam et ilia 
urit perpetuum et tu per aetatem et pulchritu- 
dinem capax eius es." Haec mecum Byrrhaena satis 

6 At ego curiosus alioquin, ut primum artis magicae 
semper optatum nomen audivi, tantum a cautela 
Pamphiles afui ut etiam ultro gestirem tali magis- 
terio me vel ampla cum mercede tradere et prorsus 
in ipsum barathrum saltu concito praecipitare. Fes- 
tinus denique et vecors animi, manu eius velut catena 
quadam memet expedio et, " Salve " propere addito, 
ad Milonis hospitium perniciter evolo ; ac dum amenti 



long before, as if you were mine own natural child ; 
beware 1 say, beware of the evil arts and wicked 
allurements of that Pamphile that is the wife of 
Milo, whom you call your host, for she is accounted 
the most chief and principal magician and enchantress 
of every necromantic spell : who, by breathing out 
certain words and charms over boughs and stones 
and other frivolous things, can throw down all the 
light of the starry heavens into the deep bottom of 
hell, and reduce them again to the old chaos. For 
as soon as she espieth any comely young man, she is 
forthwith stricken with his love, and presently setteth 
her eye and whole affection on him : she soweth her 
seed of flattery, she invadeth his spirit, and entangleth 
him with continual snares of immeasurable love. And 
then if any accord not to her filthy desire, so that 
they seem loathsome in her eye, by and by in a 
moment she either turneth them into stones, sheep, 
or some other beast as herself pleaseth, and some 
she presently slays and murders ; of whom I would 
you should earnestly beware. For she burneth con- 
tinually, and you, by reason of your tender age and 
comely beauty, are capable of her fire and love." 

Thus with great care Byrrhaena charged me, but I 
nevertheless, that was curious and coveted after such 
sorcery and witchcraft, as soon as I heard its name, 
little esteemed to beware of Pamphile, but willingly 
determined to bestow abundance of money in learning 
of that teacher, and even to leap of my own accord 
into that very pit whereof Byrrhaena had warned 
me, and so I waxed mad and hasty, and wresting 
myself out of her company, as out of links or chains, I 
bade her farewell, and departed with all speed towards 
the house of mine host Milo. Then as I hastened by 
the way like one bereft of wit, I reasoned thus with 



similis celero vestigium, " Age " inquam " Luci, evigila 
et tecum esto : habes exoptatam occasionem et voto 
diutino potiris. Fabulis miris x explere pectus, aufer 
formidines pueriles, comminus cum re ipsa naviter 
congredere, et a nexu quidem venerio hospitis tuae 
tempera et probi Milonis genialem torum religiosus 
suspice ; verum enimvero Fotis famula petatur enixe. 
Nam et forma scitula et moribus ludicra et prorsus 
argutula est. Vesperi quoque cum somno concederes, 
et in cubiculum te deduxit comiter, et blande lectulo 
collocavit, et satis amanter cooperuit, et osculato t.uo 
capite quam invita discederet vultu prodidit, denique 
saepe retrorsa respiciens substitit. Quod bonum felix 
et faustum itaque, licet salutare non erit, Fotis ilia 

Haec mecum ipse disputans fores Milonis accedo 
et, quod aiunt, pedibus in sententiam meam vado. 
Nee tamen domi Milonem vel uxorem eius offendo, 
sed tantum caram meam Fotidem : suis parabat 
viscum fartim concisum et pulpam frustatim con- 
sectam et abacum 2 pascuae iurulentae et quod naribus 
iam inde ariolabar, tuccetum perquam sapidissimum. 
Ipsa linea tunica mundule amicta et russea fasceola 
praenitente altiuscule sub ipsas papillas succinctula, 
illud cibarium vasculum floridis palmulis rotabat in 
circulum et in orbis flexibus crebra succutiens et 
simul membra sua leniter illubricans, lumbis sensim 
vibrantibus, spinam mobilem quatiens placide de- 
center undabat. Isto aspectu defixus obstupui et 

1 MSS miseris. Milesiis and mysticis have both been pro- 

2 The best MS seems to read arnlacu pascuae iurulenta, 
from which no meaning can be extracted. The suggestion 
given in the text is tolerably near and makes fair sense. 



myself : " O Lucius, now take heed, be vigilant, have 
a good care, for now thou hast time and place to 
satisfy thy longing, and mayest gain the desire thou 
hast so long nourished and fill thy heart with 
marvels. Now shake off thy childishness and come 
close to this matter like a man, but specially temper 
thyself from the love of thine hostess, and abstain 
from violation of the bed of worthy Milo; but 
strongly attempt to win the maiden Fotis, for she is 
beautiful, wanton and pleasant in talk. Nay yester- 
eve when thou wentest to sleep, she brought 
thee gently into thy chamber, and tenderly laid thee 
down in thy bed, and lovingly covered thee, and 
kissed thy head sweetly, and shewed in her counte- 
nance how unwillingly she departed, and cast her eyes 
oftentimes back and stood still ; then good speed to 
thee ; then hast thou a good occasion ministered 
unto thee, even if it betide thee ill, to prove and try 
the mind of Fotis." 

Thus while I reasoned with myself, I came to 
Milo's door persevering still in my purpose, but I 
found neither Milo nor his wife at home, but only 
my dear and sweet love Fotis mincing pigs' meat as 
if for stuffing, and slicing flesh, and making pottage 
for her master and mistress, and I thought I smelled 
even from thence the savour of some haggis very 
sweet and dainty. She had about her middle a 
white and clean apron, and she was girded high 
about her body beneath her breasts with a girdle of 
red shining silk, and she stirred the pot and turned 
the meat with her fair and white hands, in such sort 
and with such stirrings and turning the same that her 
loins and hips did likewise gently move and shake, 
which was in my mind a comely sight to see. These 
things when I saw I was half amazed, and stood 



mirabundus steti, steterunt et membra quae iacebant 
ante. Et tandem ad illam " Quam pulchre quamque 
festive " inquam " Fotis mea, ollulam istam cum nati- 
bus intorques ! Quam mellitum pulmentum apparas ! 
Felix et certius beatus cui permiseris illuc digitum 
intingere ! " Tune ilia lepida alioquin et dicacula 
puella " Discede " inquit " Miselle, quam procul a 
meo foculo discede. Nam si te vel modice meus 
igniculus afflaverit, ureris intime nee ullus extinguet 
ardorem tuum nisi ego, quae dulce condiens et ollam 
et lectulum suave quatere novi." 

Haec dicens in me respexit et risit. Nee tamen 
ego prius inde discessi, quam diligenter omnem eius 
explorassem habitudinem. Vel quid ego de ceteris aio? 
Cum semper mihi unica cura fuerit caput capillumque 
sedulo et publice prius intueri et domi postea perfrui, 
sitque iudicii huius apud me certa et statuta ratio, 
vel quod praecipua pars ista corporis in aperto et per- 
spicuo posita prima nostris luminibus occurrit, et quod 
in ceteris membris floridae vestis hilaris color, hoc in 
capite nitor nativus operator : denique pleraeque in- 
dolem gratiamque suam probaturae lacinias omnes 
exuunt, amicula dimovent, nudam pulchritudinem 
suam praebere se gestiunt, magis de cutis roseo 
rubore quam de vestis aureo col ore placiturae. At 
vero (quod nefas dicere, ne quid sit ullum huius rei 
t&m dirum exemplum) si cuiuslibet eximiae pul- 
cherrimaeque feminae caput capillo spoliaveris et 
faciem nativa specie nudaveris, licet ilia caelo deiecta, 

musing with myself, and my courage came then upori 
me which before was scant. And I spoke unto Fotis at 
last, and said : "O Fotis, how trimly, how merrily, with 
shaking your hips you can stir the pot, and how 
sweet do you make the pottage. O happy and thrice 
happy is he to whom you give leave and license to 
dip his finger therein." Then she, being likewise 
witty and merrily disposed, gave answer : " Depart, 
I say, wretch, from me ; depart from my fire, for if 
the flame thereof do never so little blaze forth it will 
burn thee inwardly, and none can extinguish the 
heat thereof but I alone, who know well how with 
daintiest seasoning to stir both board and bed." 

When she had said these words she cast her eyes 
upon me and laughed, but I did not depart from 
thence until such time as I had viewed her in every 
point : but why should I speak of other things ? 
When as it hath always been my chief care both abroad 
to mark and view the head and hair of every dame 
and afterwards delight myself therewith privately at 
home, and this is my firm and fixed judgement, for 
that is the principal part of all the body, and is 
first open to our eyes ; and whatsoever flourishing 
and gorgeous apparel doth for the other parts of the 
body, this doth the natural and comely beauty set 
forth on the head. Moreover there be divers, that (to 
the intent to shew their grace and loveliness) will 
cast off their partlets and habiliments, and do more 
delight to shew the fairness and ruddiness of their 
skin in beauty unadorned than to deck themselves 
up in raiment of gold. But, though it be a crime 
unto me to say it, and I pray there may be no example 
of so foul a thing, know ye that if you spoil and cut 
off the hair of any woman and deprive her of this 
natural adornment of her face, though she were never 



mari edita, fluctibus educata licet, inquam, Venus 
ipsa fuerit, licet omni Gratiarum choro stipata et toto 
Cupidinum populo comitata et balteo suo cincta, 
cinnama fragrans et balsama rorans, calva processerit, 
placere non poterit nee Vulcano suo. 

9 Quid cum capillis color gratus et nitor splendidus 
illucet et contra solis aciem vegetus fulgurat vel 
placidus renitet, aut in contrariam gratiam variat 
aspectum, et nunc aurum coruscans in lenem mellis 
deprimitur umbram, nunc corvina nigredine caeruleos 
columbarum collis flosculos aemulatur, vel cum guttis 
Arabicis obunctus et pectinis arguti dente tenui dis- 
criminatus et pone versum coactus amatoris oculis oc- 
currens ad instar speculi reddit imaginem gratiorem ? 
Quid cum frequenti subole spissus cumulat verticem 
vel prolixa serie porrectus dorsa permauat ? Tanta 
denique est capillamenti dignitas, ut quamvis auro, 
veste, gemmis, omnique cetero mundo exornata mulier 
incedat, tamen, nisi capillum distinxerit, ornata non 
possit audire. 

Sed in mea Fotide non operosus sed inordinatus or- 
natus addebat gratiam. Uberes enim crines leniter 
r'emissos et cervice dependulos ac dein per colla. dis- 
positos sensimque sinuato patagio residentes paulisper 
ad finem conglobates in summum verticem nodus as- 

10 trinxernt. Nee diutius quivi tantum eruciatum volup- 



So excellent in beauty, though she were thrown down 
from heaven, sprung of the seas, nourished of the 
floods, though she were Venus herself, accompanied 
with the Graces, waited upon by all the court of 
Cupids, girded with her beautiful scarf of love, sweet 
like cinnamon and bedewed with balsam ; yet if she 
appeared bald she could in no wise please, no, not 
her own Vulcan. O how well doth a fair colour 
and a brilliant sheen agree with glittering hair ! Be- 
hold it encountereth with the beams of the sun like 
swift lightning, or doth softly reflect them back 
again, or changeth clean contrary into another grace. 
Sometimes the beauty of the hair, shining like gold, 
resembles the colour of honey ; sometimes, when it 
is raven black, the blue plume and azure feathers 
about the necks of doves, especially when it is 
anointed with the nard of Arabia, or trimly tuffed 
out with the teeth of a fine comb ; and if it be tied 
up in the nape of the neck, it seemeth to the lover 
that beholdeth the same as a glass that yieldeth forth 
a more pleasant and gracious comeliness. The same 
is it if it should be gathered thick on the crown of 
the head, or if it should hang down scattei'ing be- 
hind on the shoulders of the woman. Finally, there 
is such a dignity in the hair, that whatsoever she be, 
though she never be so bravely attired with gold, 
silks, precious stones, and other rich and gorgeous 
ornaments, yet if her hair be not curiously set forth, 
she cannot seem fair. 

But in my Fotis not her studied care thereof but 
rather its disorderliness did increase her beauty : her 
rich tresses hung gently about her shoulders, and 
were dispersed abroad upon every part of her neck 
haii<;i7ig from the nape, and fell fairly down enwotind 
in a kerchief, until at last they were trussed up upon 



tatis eximiae sustinere, sed pronus in earn, qua fine 
summum cacumen ^apillus ascendit, mellitissimum 
ilhid saviuni impress!. Turn ilia cervicem intorsit, 
et ad me conversa limis et morsicantibus oculis 
" Heus tu, scholastice/' ait " Dulce et amarum 
gustulum carpis. Cave ne nimia mellis dulcedine 
diutinam bilis amaritudinem contrahas." "Quid 
istic " inquam " Est, mea festivitas, cum sim paratus 
vel uno saviolo interim recreatus super istum ignem 
porrectus assari ?" et cum dictoartius earn complexus 
coepi saviari. lamque aemula libidine in amoris pari- 
litatem congermanescenti mecum, iam patentis oris 
inhalatu cinnameo et occursantis linguae illisu nec- 
tareo prona cupidine adlibescenti, "Pereo," inquam 
" Immo iam dudum perii, nisi tu propitiaris." Ad 
haec ilia rursum me deosculato " Bono ammo esto/' 
inquit "Nam ego tibi mutua voluntate mancipata 
sum, nee voluptas nostra differetur ulterius, sed prima 
face cubiculum tuum adero. Abi ergo ac te com- 
para, tota enim nocte tecum fortiter et ex animo 
11 proeliabor." His et talibus obgannitis sermonibus 
inter nos discessum est. 

Conimodum meridies accesserat, et mittit mihi 
Byrrhaena xeniola, porcum opimum et quinque gal- 
linulas et vini cadurn in aetate pretiosi. Tune ego 
vocata Fotide, "Ecce" inquam " Veneris hortator et 
armiger Liber advenit ultro. Vinum istud hodie 
sorbamus omne, quod iiobis restinguat pudoris ig- 
naviam et alacrem vigorem libidiiiis incutiat. Hac 


her crown with a knot : then I, unable to sustain the 
torture of the great desire that I was in, ran upon 
her and kissed very sweetly the place where she had 
thus laid her hair upon her crown, whereat she 
turned her face and cast her sidelong and rolling 
eyes upon me, saying : " O scholar, thou hast tasted 
now both honey and gall ; take heed that the sweet- 
ness of thy pleasure do not turn into the bitterness of 
repentance." " Tush ! " quoth I : " My sweetheart, 
I am contented for such another kiss to be broiled 
here upon this fire " ; wherewithal I embraced her 
more closely and began to kiss her. Then she 
embraced and kissed me with like passion of love, 
and moreover her breath smelled like cinnamon, and 
the liquor of her tongue was like sweet nectar. 
Wherewith when my mind was greatly delighted, 
I said : " Behold, Fotis, I am yours and shall 
presently die, nay, I am already dead, unless you 
take pity upon me," which when I had said, she 
eft M Kins kissed me and bade me be of good courage. 
"And I will," quoth she, "Satisfy your whole desire, 
and it shall be no longer delayed than until night, 
when as (assure yourself) I will come to your 
chamber ; wherefore go your ways and prepare 
yourself, for I intend valiantly and courageously to 
encounter with you this night." Thus when we had 
lovingly talked and reasoned together, we departed 
for that time. .., 

When noon was just now come Byrrhaena sent unto 
me a present of a fat pig, five hens, and a flagon of old 
wine and rare. Then I called Fotis and said : " Behold 
how Bacchus, the aider and abettor of Venus, doth 
offer himself of his own accord ; let us therefore drink 
up this wine, that we may do utterly away with 
the cowardice of shame and get us the courage of 
E 65 


enim sitarchia navigium Veneris indiget sola, ut 
in node pervigili et oleo lucerna et vino calix 

Diem ceterum lavacro ac dein cenae dedimus : nam 
Miloiiis boni concinnaticiara mensulam rogatus accu- 
bueram quam pote tutus ab uxoris eius aspectu, 
Byrrhaenae monitorum memor, et perinde in eius 
faciem oculos meos ac si in Avernum lacum forrni- 
dans deieceram, sed assidue respiciens praeminis- 
trantem Fotidem inibi recreabar animi ; cum ecce 
iam vespera lucernam intuens Pamphile, " Quam 
largus " inquit " Imber aderit crastino/' et per- 
contanti marito qui comperisset istud, respondit sibi 
lucernam praedicei-e. Quod dictum ipsius Milo 
risu secutus, " Grandem " inquit " Istam lucernam 
Sibyllam pascimus, quae cuncta caeli negotia et 
1 2 solem ipsum de specula candelabri contuetur." Ad 
haec ego subiciens, " Sunt " aio " Prima huiusce 
divinationis experimenta, nee mirum licet modicum 
istum igniculum et manibus humanis laboratum, 
memorem tamen illius maioris et caelestis ignis 
velut sui parentis, quid is esset editurus in aetheris 
vertice divino praesagio et ipsum scire et nobis 
enuntiare. Nam et Corinthi nunc apud nos passim 
Chaldaeus quidam hospes miris totam civitatem 
responsis turbulentat, et arcana fatorum stipibus 


pleasure, for the voyage of Venus wanteth no other 
provision than this, that the lamp may be all the 
night replenished with oil, and the cups filled with 

The residue of the day I passed away at the baths, 
and then to supper, for 1 was bid by the worthy 
Milo, and so I sat down at his little table, so neatly 
furnished, out of Pamphile's sight as much as I could, 
being mindful of the commandment of Byrrhaena, 
and only sometimes I would cast mine eyes upon 
her, as if I should look upon the lakes of hell ; but 
then I (eftsoons turning my face behind me, and 
beholding my Fotis ministering at the table) was 
again refreshed and made merry. And behold, 
when it was now evening and Pamphile did see the 
lamp standing on the table, she said : " Verily we 
shall have much rain to-morrow," which when her 
husband did hear, he demanded of her, by what 
reason she knew it. " Marry," quoth she, " The light 
on the table doth shew the same " : then Milo 
laughed and said : " Verily we nourish and bring up 
a Sibyl prophesier in this lamp, which doth divine 
from its socket of celestial things, and of the sun 
itself, as from a watch-tower." 

Then I mused in my mind and said unto Milo : 
" Of truth now it is my first experience and proof of 
divination, neither is it any marvel, for although this 
light is but a small light and made by the hands of 
man, yet hath it a remembrance of that great and 
heavenly light as of its parent, and by its divine 
spirit of prophecy doth both know and shew unto us, 
what he will do in the skies above : for I knew 
among us at Corinth a certain man of Assyria, who 
by his answers set the whole city in a turmoil, and 
for the gain of money would tell every man his 



emerendis edicit in vulgus : qui dies copulas nup- 
tiarum affirmet, qui fundamenta moenium perpetuet, 
qui negotiatori commodus, qui viatori Celebris, qui 
navigiis opportunus ; mihi denique proventum huius 
peregrinationis inquirenti multa respondit et oppido 
mira et satis varia : nunc enim gloriam satis floridam, 
nunc historiam magnam et incredundam fabulam et 
libros me futurum." 

13 Ad haec renidens Milo "Qua" inquit "Corporis 
habitudine praeditus quove nomine nuncupatus hie 
iste Chaldaeus est ? " " Procerus " inquam " Et 
suffusculus, Diophanes nomine." " Ipse est/' ait 
" Nee ullus alius : nam et hie apud nos multa multis 
similiter effatus non parvas stipes, immo vero mer- 
cedes opimas iam consecutus fortunam scaevam, an 
saevam verius dixerim, miser incidit. Nam die 
quadam cum frequentis populi circulo consaeptus 
coronae circumstantium fata donaret, Cerdo quid am 
nomine negotiator accessit eum diem commodum 
peregrinationi cupiens : quern cum electum desti- 
nasset ille, iam deposita crumena, iam profusis num- 
mulis, iam dinumeratis centum denarium, quos 
mercedem divinationis auferret, ecce quidam de 
nobilibus adulescentulus a tergo arrepens eum lacinia 
prehendit et conversum amplexus exosculatur artis- 
sime. At ille ubi primum consaviatus eum iuxtim 
se ut assidat effecit, et attonitus repentinae visionis 
stupore et praesentis negotii quod gerebat oblitus, 


fortune : to some he would tell the days they 
should marry ; to others he would tell when they 
should build, so that their edifices should continue ; 
to others when they should best go about their affairs ; 
to others when they should travel by land ; to others 
when they should go by sea ; and to me (enquiring 
of my journey hither) he declared many things 
strange and variable. For sometimes he said that I 
should win glory enough, sometimes that mine 
should be a great history, sometimes an incredible 
tale and the subject of books." 

Whereat Milo laughed again, and enquired of me 
of what stature this man of Assyria was, and what 
he was named. " In faith," quoth I, " He is a tall man 
and somewhat black, and he is called Diophanes." 
Then said Milo : "The same is he and no other, who 
likewise hath declared many things unto many of us, 
whereby he got and obtained no small profit, indeed 
much substance and treasure, but fell at length, poor 
wretch, into the hands of unpropitious fate, or I 
might say fate unfaithful. For being on a day 
amongst a great assembly of people, to tell the by- 
standers their fortune, a certain merchant called 
Cerdo came unto him, and desired him to tell when 
it should be best for him to take his voyage, the 
which when he had done, Cerdo had already opened 
his purse and already poured forth his money and 
counted out a hundred pence to pay him for the 
pains of his soothsaying ; whereupon came a certain 
young nobleman from behind and took Diophanes 
by the garment, and turned him about and embraced 
and kissed him close, and Diophanes kissed him 
again and desired him to sit down by him. And 
being astonished with this sudden chance, he forgot 
the present business that he was doing, and said : 



infit ad eum ' Quam olim equidem exoptatus nobis 
advenis ? ' Respondit ad haec ille alius, ' Commodum 
vespera oriente : sed vicissim tu quoque, frater, mihi 
memora quernadmodum exinde ut de Euboea insula 
festinus enavigasti, et mans et viae confeceris iter.' 

14 Ad haec Diophanes ille Clialdaeus egregius, mente 
viduus necdum snus, ' Hostes ' inquit ' Et oinnes 
inimici nostri tarn diram immo vero Ulixeam pere- 
grinationem incidant. Nam et navis ipsa qua 
vehebamur, variis turbinibus procellarum quassata, 
utroque regimine amisso, aegre ad ulterioris ripae 
marginem detrusa praeceps demersa est, et nos 
omnibus amissis vix enatavimus. Quodcunque vel 
ignotorum miseratione vel amicorum benivolentia 
contraximus, id omne latrocinalis invasit manus, 
quorum audaciae repugnans etiam Arignotus unicus 
frater meus sub istis oculis miser iugulatus est.' 
Haec eo adhuc narrante maesto Cerdo ille negotiator 
correptis nummulis suis, quos divinationis mercedi 
destinaverat, protinus aufugit. r Ac dehinc tune 
demum Diophanes expergitus sensit imprudentiae 
suae labem, cum etiam nos omnes circumsecus 
astantes in clarum cachinnum videret efFusos. Sed 
tibi plane, Luci domine, soli omnium Chaldaeus ille 
vera dixerit, sisque felix et iter dexterum porrigas." 

15 Haec Milone diutine sermocinante tacitus in- 
gemescebam, miiiique non mediocriter suscensebam 


' O dear friend, you are heartily welcome ; I pray 
you when arrived you, whom we have looked for so 
long, into these parts ? ' Then answered he : ' Just 
this last evening ; but, brother, I pray you tell me of 
your sudden coming from the Isle of Euboea, and 
how you sped by the way, both of sea and land ? ' 
Whereunto Diophanes, this notable Assyrian, not yet 
come unto his mind but half amazed, gave answer 
and said : ' I would to God that all our enemies and 
evil-willers might fall into the like dangerous 
peregrination, as troublesome as Ulysses' was, for 
the ship which we were in (after that it was by the 
waves of the sea and by the great tempest tossed 
hither and thither, in great peril, and after that both 
the rudders brake alike in pieces) was but just 
brought to the further shore, but sunk utterly into 
the water, and so we did swim and hardly escaped to 
land with loss of all that we had : and after that, 
whatsoever was given unto us in recompense of our 
losses, either by the pity of strangers or by the 
benevolence of our friends, was taken away from us 
by a band of thieves, whose violence when mine only 
brother Arignotus did essay to resist, he was cruelly 
murdered by them before my face.' While he was 
still sadly declaring these things, the merchant Cerdo 
took up his money again, which he had told out to 
pay for the telling of his fortune, and ran away : and 
then Diophanes coming to himself perceived what he 
had done, how his imprudence had ruined him, and 
we all that stood by laughed greatly. But surely, I 
pray that unto you, O Lucius, did Diophanes tell the 
truth, if to you alone, and may you be happy, and 
have a prosperous journey." 

Thus Milo reasoned with me, but I groaned within 
myself and was not a little sorry that I had by my 



quod ultro inducta serie inopportunarum fabularum 
partem bonam vesperae eiusque gratissimum fructum 
amitterem ; et tandem denique devorato pudore ad 
Milonem aio " Ferat suam Diophanes ille fortunam et 
spolia populorum rursum conferat mari pariter ac 
terrae, mihi vero fatigationis hesternae etiamnunc 
saucio da veniam raaturius concedam cubitum/' et 
cum dicto facesscv, et cubiculum meum contendo^ atque 
illic deprehendo epularum dispositiones satis con- 
cinnas. Nam et pueris extra limen, credo ut arbitrio 
nocturni gannitus ablegarentur, humi quam procul 
distratum fuerat, et grabatulum meum astitit mensula 
cenae totius honestas reliquias tolerans, et calices 
boni, iam infuso latice semipleni, solam temperiem 
sustinentes, et lagoena iuxta orincio caesim dehiscente 
patescens facilis hauritu, prorsus gladiatoriae Veneris 

16 Commodum cubueram, et ecce Fotis mea, iam 
domina cubitum reddita, laeta proximat rosa serta et 
rosa soluta in sinu tuberante : ac me pressim deoscu- 
lato et corollis revincto ac flore persperso arripit 
poculum ac desuper aqua calida iniecta porrigit 
bibam, idque modico prius quam totum exsorberem 
clementer invadit ac relictum pullulatim labellis 
minuens meque respiciens sorbillat dulciter. Sequens 
et tertium inter nos vicissim et frequens alternat 
poculum, cum ego iam vino madens nee animo 


own doing turned him into such a vein of talk so un- 
seasonably, that I was like to lose a good part of the 
night, and the sweet pleasure thereof, but at length 
I boldly swallowed my shame and said unto Milo : 
" Let Diophanes farewell with his evil fortune, and 
disgorge again to sea and land that spoil that he 
wins from all nations, for I verily do yet feel the 
weariness of my travel of yesterday ; wherefore I 
pray you pardon me, and give me license, being very 
tired, to depart early to bed," wherewithal I rose 
up and went to my chamber, where I found all 
manner of meats finely prepared, and the servants' 
bed (so that they should not hear, methinks, our 
tattling of the night) was removed far off without 
the chamber door. By my bed a table was set, all 
covered with no small store of such meats as were 
left at supper, generous cups were filled half full 
with liquor, leaving room only for enough water to 
temper and delay the wine, the flagon stood ready 
prepared, its neck opened with a wide and smooth 
cut, that one might the easier di*aw from it, and 
there did nothing lack which was necessary for the 
preparation of Venus. 

Now when I was just entered into the bed, behold 
my Fotis (who had brought her mistress to sleep) 
drew nigh, with bunches of rose garlands and rose 
blooms in her apron, and she kissed me closely and 
tied a garland about my head, and cast the residue 
about me. Which when she had done, she took up 
a cup of wine, and tempered it with hot water, and 
proffered it me to drink, and before I had drunk up 
all, she gently pulled it from my mouth, and sipping 
it slowly and looking upon me the while, she drank 
that which was left, and in this manner we emptied 
the pot twice or thrice together. Thus when I had 



tantum verum etiam corpora ipso ad libidinem 
inquies, alioquin et petulans et iam saucius paulisper 
inguinum fine lacinia remota impatientiam Veneri 
Fotidi meae monstrans, "Miserere," inquam ' 
subveni maturius : nam, ut vides, proelio, quod nobis 
sine fetiali officio indixeras, iam proximante vehe- 
menter intentus,ubi primam sagittam saevi Cupidinis 
in ima praecordia mea delapsam excepi, arcum meum 
et ipse vigorate tetendi l et oppido formido ne nervus 
rigoris nimietate rumpatur. Sed ut mihi morem 
pfenius gessevis, in effusum laxa crinem et^ capillo 
iTfluente undanter ede complexus amabiles." Nee 
mora, cum omnibus illis cibariis vasculis raptim remotis, 
laciniis cunctis suis renudata, crinibus quam dissolutis 
ad hilarem lasciviam in speciem Veneris quae mari- 
nes fluctus subit pulchre reformata, paulisper etiam 
glabellum feminal rosea palmula potius obumbrans 
de industria quam tegens verecundia, " Proeliare," 
inquit " Et fortiter proeliare, nee enim tibi cedam 
nee terga vortam. Comminus in aspectum, si vir 
es, derige et grassare naviter et occide moriturus. 
Hodierna pugna non habet missionem." Haec simul 
dicens, inscenso grabatulo super me sessim residens 
ac crebra subsiliens, lubricisque gestibus mobilem 
spinam quatiens, pendulae Veneris fructu me satiavit, 
usque dum lassis animis et marcidis artubus defatigati 
simul ambo corruimus inter mutuos amplexus animas 
anbelantes. His et huiusmodi colluctationibus ad 
confinia lucis usque pervigiles egimus, poculis inter- 
dum lassitudinem refoventes et libidinem incitantes 
et voluptatem integrantes : ad cuius noctis exemplar 
similes astruximus alias plusculas. 

1 8 Forte quadam die de me magno ojsere Byrrhaena 
contendit apud earn' cenulae ut interessem, et cum 

1 So Bursian for the MSS' vigor attetendit. 


well replenished myself with wine, and was now- 
ready not only in mind but also in body, I shewed to 
Fotis my great impatience and said : " O my sweet- 
heart, take pity upon me and help me : for as you 
see, I am prepared unto the battle now approaching 
which yourself did appoint without the herald's aid, 
for after that I felt the first arrow of cruel Cupid 
within my breast I bent my bow very strong, and 
now fear (because it is bended so hard) lest the 
string should break : but that thou mayest the better 
please me, unbrace thy hair and come and embrace 
me lovingly " ; wherewithal she made no long delay, 
but set aside all the meat and wine, and then un- 
apparelled herself and unattired her hair, presenting 
her amiable body unto me in manner of fair Venus, 
when she goeth under the waves of the sea. " Now," 
quoth she, " Is come the hour of jousting, now is 
come the time of war, wherefore shew thyself like 
unto a man, for I will not retire, I will not fly the 
field ; see then thou be valiant, see thou be coura- 
geous, since there is no time appointed when our 
skirmish shall cease." In saying these words she 
came to me, and embraced me sweetly, and so we 
passed all the night in pastime and pleasure, and 
never slept till it was day ; but we would ever 
refresh our weariness and provoke our pleasure by 
drinking of wine. In which sort we pleasantly passed 
many nights following. 

It fortuned on a day that Byrrhaena desired me to 
sup with her, and she would in no wise take any 



impendio excusarem, uegavit veniam. Ergo igitur 
Fotis erat adeunda deque nutu eius consilium velut 
auspicium petendum : quae quanquam invita quod a 
se ungue latius digrederer, tamen comiter amatoriae 
militiae brevem commeatum indulsit. Sed " Heus 
tu " inquit " Cave regrediare cena maturius : nam 
vesana factio nobilissimorum iuvenum pacem publi- 
cam infestat : passim trucidatos per medias plateas 
videbis iacere, nee praesidis auxilia longinqua levare 
civitatem tanta clade possunt. Tibi vero fortunae 
splendor insidias, contemptus etiam peregrinationis 
poterit afferre." "Fac sine cura" inquam "Sis, 
Fotis mea: nam praeter quod epulis alienis volup- 
tates meas anteferrem, metum etiam istum tibi demam 
maturata regressione. Nee tamen incomitatus ibo : 
nam gladiolo soli to cinctus altrinsecus ipse salutis 
meae praesidia gestabo." Sic paratus cenae me 

19 Frequens ibi numerus epulonum et utpote apud 
primatem feminam flos ipse civitatis. Mensae opi- 
pare citro et ebore nitentes, lecti aureis vestibus 
intecti, ampli calices variae quidem gratiae sed pre- 
tiositatis unius. Hie vitrum fabre sigillatum, ibi 
crystallum impunetum, argentum alibi clarum et 
aurum fulgurans et succinum mire cavatum et lapides 
ut bibas, et quicquid fieri non potest. ibi est. Diri- 
bitores plusculi splendide amicti fercula copiosa 


excuse. Whereupon I must go unto Fotis to ask 
counsel of her as of some divine, who (although she 
was unwilling that I should depart one foot from her 
company) yet at length she gave me license to be 
absent for a while from amorous debate, saying : 
" Look you, beware that you tarry not long at supper 
there, for there is a rabble of well-born youths that 
disturbeth the public peace, and you may see many 
murdered about in the streets, neither can the armies 
of the governor, for that they are afar ofi, rid the city 
of this great plague. And they will the sooner set 
upon you, by reason of your high station and for 
that they will disdain you being a foreigner." Then 
I answered and said : " Have no care for me, Fotis, 
for I esteem the pleasure which I have with thee 
above the dainty meat that I eat abroad, and I will 
take away that fear that you have by returning again 
quickly. Nevertheless, I mind not to go without 
company, for I have here my sword by my side, 
whereby I hope to defend myself." 

And so in this sort I went to supper, and behold 
I found at Byrrhaena's house a great company of 
strangers, the very flower of the citizens, for that she 
was one of the chief and principal women of the city. 
The tables (made of citron-wood and ivory) were 
richly adorned, the couches spread with cloth of 
gold, the cups were great and garnished preciously 
in sundry fashion, but were of like estimation and 
price : here stood a glass gorgeously wrought, there 
stood another of crystal finely chased, there stood a 
cup of glittering silver, and here stood another of 
shining gold, and here was another of amber arti- 
ficially carved, and precious stones made to drink out 
of; finally, there were all things that might never be 
found. A crowd of servitors brought orderly the 


scitule subministrare, pueri calami strati pulchre in- 
dusiati gemmas formatas in pocula vini vetusti fre- 
quenter offerre. 

lam illatis luminibus epularis sermo percrebruit, 
iam risus affluens et ioci liberales et cavillus hinc 
inde ; turn infit ad me Byrrhaena : " Quam com- 
mode versaris in nostra patria ? Quod sciam, templis 
et lavacris et ceteris operibus longe cunctas civitates 
antecellimus, utensilium praeterea poll emus affatim. 
Certe libertas otioso, et negotioso quidem advenae 
Romana frequentia, modesto vero hospiti quies villa- 
tica ; omni denique provinciae voluptarii secessus 
20 sumus." Ad haec ego subiciens : " Vera memoras, nee 
usquam gentium magis me liberum quam hie fuisse 
credidi. Sed oppido formido caecas et inevitabiles 
latebras magicae disciplinae : nam ne mortuorum 
quidem sepulchra tutadicuntur sed ex bustis et rogis 
reliquiae quaedam et cadaverum praesegmina ad 
exitiabiles viventium fortunas petuntur ; et canta- 
trices anus in ipso momento choragii funebris praepeti 
celeritate alienam sepulturam antevortunt." His 
meis addidit alius : " Immo vero istic nee viventibus 
quidem ullis parcitur : et nescioqui simile passus ore 
undique omnifariam deformato truncatus est." Inter 
haec convivium totum in licentiosos cachinnos effuri- 
ditur, omniumque ora et obtutus in unum quempiam 
angulo secubantem conferuntur : qui cunctorum 


plentiful meats in rich apparel, the pages curled and 
arrayed in silk robes did fill great gems made in 
form of cups with ancient wine. 

Then one brought in candles and torches : and 
when we were sat down and placed in order we 
began to talk, to laugh and be merry. And Byrrhaena 
spoke to me, and said : " I pray you, cousin, how like 
you our country ? Verily I think there is no other 
city which hath the like temples, baths and other 
commodities as we have here : further we have abund- 
ance of household stuff, we have freedom for him 
that will rest, and when a busy merchant cometh, he 
may find here as many as at Rome ; but for a stranger 
that will have quiet there is peace as at a country- 
house : and in fine, all that dwell within this province 
(when they purpose to solace and repose themselves) 
do come to this city." 

Whereunto I answered : " Verily you tell truth, for 
I have found no place in all the world where I may 
be freer than here ; but I greatly fear the blind and 
inevitable pits of witchcraft, for they say that not 
even the graves of the dead are sate, but the bones 
and slices of such as are slain be digged up from 
tombs and pyres to afflict and torment such as live : 
and the old witches as soon as they hear of the death 
of any person do forthwith go and uncover the hearse 
and spoil the corpse before ever it be buried." 

Then another sitting at the table spoke and said : 
" In faith you say true, neither yet do they spare or 
favour the living.^ For I know one not far hence 
that was cruelly handled by them and hath suffered 
much with all manner of cutting of his face " ; 
whereat all the company laughed heartily, and looked 
upon one that sat apart at the board's end, who 
being amazed at all their gazing and angry withal, 



obstinatione confusus indigna murmurabundus cum 
vellet exsurgere, " Immo mi Thelyphron" Byrrhaena 
inquit " Et subsiste paulisper et more tuae urbanitatis 
f'abulam illam tuam remetire, ut et filius meus iste 
Lucius lepidi sermonis tui perfruatur comitate." At 
ille " Tu quidem domina " ait " In officio manes sanctae 
tuae bonitatis : sed ferenda non est quorundam 
insolentia." Sic ille commotus ; sed instantia 
Byrrhaenae, quae eum adiuratione suae salutis in- 
21 gratis cogebat effari, perfecit ut vellet, ac sic aggeratis 
in cumulum stragulis et effultus in cubitum sub- 
erectusque in torum porrigit dexteram, et ad instar 
oratorum conformat articulum duobusque infimis 
coriclusis digitis ceteros erninus porrigens et infesto 
pollice subfigens infit Thelypbron : 

"Pupillus ego Mileto profectus ad spectaculum 
Olympicum, cum haec etiam loca provinciae fami- 
gerabilis adire cuperem, peragrata cuncta Thessalia 
fuscis avibus Larissam accessi. Ac dum singula 
pererrans, tenuato admodum viatico, paupertati meae 
fomenta conquiro, conspicor medio foro procerum 
quendam senem : insistebat lapidem claraque voce 
praedicabat, si qui mortuum servare vellet^ tie pretio 
liceretur ; et ad quempiam praetereuntium ' Quid 
hoc' inquam 'comperior? Hiciiie mortui solent 
aufugere ? ' ' Tace ' respondit ille, ' Nam oppido 



murmured somewhat and would have risen from the 
table had not Byrrhaena spoken to him and said : 
" I pray thee, friend Thelyphron, sit still, and accord- 
ing to thy accustomed courtesy declare unto us thy 
story, to the end that my son Lucius may be de- 
lighted with the pleasantness of thy tale." To whom 
he answered : " Ah dame, you are always the same 
in the office of your bounty and thoughtfulness, but 
the insolence of some is not to be supported." This 
he said very angrily, but Byrrhaena was earnest upon 
him and conjured him by her own life that he should, 
how unwilling soever, tell his tale, whereby he was 
enforced to declare the same : and so (lapping up 
the end of the table-cloth into an heap) he leaned 
with his elbow thereon, and sat up upon the couch and 
held out his right hand in the manner of an orator, 
shutting down the two smaller fingers and stretching 
out the other three, and pointing up with his thumb 
a little, and said : 

" When I was a young man I went from the city 
called Miletus to see the games and triumphs called 
Olympian, and being desirous also to come into this 
famous province, after that I had travelled over all 
Thessaly, I fortuned in an evil hour to come to the 
city Larissa, where, while I went up and down to 
view the streets, to take some relief for my poor 
estate (for I had spent near all my money) 1 espied 
a tall old man standing upon a stone in the midst of 
the market-place, crying with a loud voice, and 
saying that if any man would watch a dead corpse 
that night he should be rewarded and a price be fixed 
for his pains. Which when I heard I said to one 
that passed by : ' What is here to do ? Do dead men 
use to run away in this country?' Then answered 
he : ' Hold your peace ; for you are but a babe and a 
F 81 


puer et satis peregrinus es, meritoque ignoras Thes- 
saliae te consistere, ubi sagae mulieres ora mortuorum 
passim demorsitant, eaque sunt illis artis magicae 

22 supplements ' Contra ego ' Et quae, tu ' inquam 
' Die sodes-, custodela ilia feralis ? ' ' lam primum ' 
respondit ille ' Perpetem noctem eximie vigilandum 
est exertis et inconnivis oculis semper in cadaver 
intentis, nee acies usquam devertenda, immo ne 
obliquanda quidem, quippe cum deterrimae ver- 
sipelles in quodvis animal ore converse latenter 
arrepant. ut ipsos etiam oculos solis et lustitiae 
facile frustrentur ; nam et aves et rursum canes et 
mures, immo vero etiam muscas induunt. Tune 
diris cantaminibus somno custodes obruunt : nee satis 
quisquam definire poterit quantas latebras nequissimae 
mulieres pro libidine sua comminiscuntur. Net 
tamen huius tarn exitiabilis operae merces amplior 
quam quaterni vel seni ferme offeruntur aurei. 
Ehem, et quod paene praeterieram, si qui non 
integrum corpus mane restituerit, quicquid inde 
decerptum deminutumque fuerit, id omne de facie 
sua desecto sarcire compellitur.' 

23 " His cognitis animum meum commasculo, et illico 
accedens praeconem e Clamare ' inquam ' lam desine : 
adest custos paratus, cedo praemium.' ' Mille ' inquit 
' Nummum deponentur tibi. Sed heus iuvenis, cave 
diligenter principum civitatis filii cadaver a malis 
Harpyiis probe custodias.' Ineptias ' inquam ' Mihi 


stranger here, and not without cause you are ignorant 
how you are in Thessaly, where the women witches do 
bite off by morsels the flesh of the faces of dead men, 
and thereby work their sorceries and enchantments.' 
'Then/ quoth I, ' In good fellowship tell me the 
order of this custody of the dead and how it is : ' 
' Marry,' quoth he, ' First you must watch all the 
night, with your eyes staring and bent continually 
upon the corpse, without winking, never looking off 
nor even moving aside : for these witches do change 
their skin and turn themselves at will into sundry 
kinds of beasts, whereby they deceive the eyes even 
of the sun and of very Justice ; sometimes they are 
transformed into birds, sometimes into dogs and 
mice, and sometimes into flies ; moreover they will 
charm the keepers of the corpse asleep, neither can 
it be declared what means and shifts these wicked 
women do use to bring their purpose to pass : and 
the reward for such dangerous watching is no more 
than four or six pieces of gold. But hearken further, 
which I had well nigh forgotten, if the keeper of the 
dead do not render on the morning following the 
corpse whole and sound as he received the same, he 
shall be punished in this sort. That is ; if the corpse 
be diminished or spoiled in any part, the same shall 
be diminished and spoiled in the face of the keeper 
to patch it up withal.' 

"Which when I heard I took a good heart and 
went unto the crier and bade him cease, for I would 
take the matter in hand, and so I demanded what I 
should have. ' Marry,' quoth he, ' A thousand pence ; 
but beware I say, young man, that you do well 
defend the dead corpse from the wicked witches, 
for he was the son of one of the chiefest of the city.' 
' Tush,' said I, ' You speak you cannot tell what ; 



harras et nugas meras. Vides hominem ferreum et 
insomnem, certe perspicaciorem ipso Lynceo vel Argo 
et oculeum totum.' 

" Vix finieram, et illico me perducit ad domum 
quampiam, cuius ipsis foribus obsaeptis per quan- 
dambrevem posticulam intro vocat me et conclave 
quoddam obseratis luminibus umbrosum demonstrat 
matronamque flebilem fusca veste contectam, quam 
propter assistens f Hic inquit 'Auctoratus ad cus- 
todiam mariti tui fidenter accessit.' At ilia crini- 
bus antependulis hinc inde demotis etiam in maerore 
luculentam proferens faciem., meque respiciens 'Vide 
oro' inquit ' Quam expergite munus obeas.' 'Sine 
cura sis ' ; inquam ( Modo corollarium idoneum com- 
24 para.' Sic placito ocius surrexit et ad aliud me 
cubiculum inducit : ibi corpus splendentibus linteis 
coopertum introductis quibusdam septem testibus 
manu revelat et diutine insuper fleto 1 obtestata fidem 
praesentium singula demonstrat anxie, verba concepta 
de industria quodam tabulis praenotante. ' Ecce ' 
inquit ' Nasus integer, incolumes oculi, salvae aures, 
illibatae labiae, mentum solidum. Vos in hanc rem, 
boni Quirites, testimonium perhibetote '; et cum dicto 
consignatis illis tabulis facessit. 

" At ego, ' lube ' inquam ' Domina, cuncta quae 

l This is the ingenious suggestion of Nic. Heinsius for the 
MSS' usu perfleto. 



behold I am a man made all of iron, and have never 
desire to sleep, and am more quick of sight than 
Lynceus or Argus, and must be all eyes.' 

" I had scarce spoken these words, when he took 
me by the hand, and brought me to a certain house, 
the gate whereof was closed fast, so that I went 
through a small wicket, and then he brought me 
into a chamber somewhat dark, the light being 
shut out, and shewed me a matron clothed in mourn- 
ing vesture and weeping in lamentable wise : and he 
stood by and spake unto her and said : 'Behold here 
is one that is employed to watch the corpse of your 
husband faithfully this night.' Which when she 
heard, she pushed aside her hair that hung before 
her blubbered face that was yet very fair, and turned 
her unto me, saying : ' Mark you, young man, take 
good heed and see you be vigilant to your office.' 
' Have no care,' quoth I, ' So that you will give me 
something above that which is due to be given,' 
wherewith she was contented ; and then rose and 
brought me into another chamber, wherein the 
corpse lay covered with white sheets, and she called 
seven witnesses, before whom she removed the cloth, 
and wept long over him, then shewed the dead body 
and every part and parcel thereof, and with weeping 
eyes desired them all to testify the matter, which 
done she said these words that she had composed 
of set purpose, while one wrote and noted the same 
in tables : ' Behold his nose is whole, his eyes safe, 
his ears without scar, his lips untouched, and his 
chin sound : do you, good citizens, bear witness 
hereto ' : and then was all inscribed with the hands 
of the witnesses to confirm the same. 

"This done, I said unto the matron: ' Madam, I 
pray you bid that I may have all things here 



sunt usui necessaria nobis exhiberi.' 'At quae ' in- 
quit ' Ista sunt ? ' ' Lucerna ' aio ' Praegrandis et 
oleum ad lucem luci sufficiens et calida cum oeno- 
phoris et calice cenarumque reliquiis discus ornatus.' 
Tune ilia capite quassato ' Abi ' inquit ' Fatue, qui 
in domo funesta cenas et partes requiris, in qua tot- 
iugis iam diebus ne fumus quidem visus est ullus. 
An istic comissatum te venisse credis ? Quin sumis 
potius loco congruentes luctus et lacrimas ? ' Haec 
simul dicens respexit ancillulam, et ' Myrrhine ' in- 
quit ' Lucernam et oleum trade confestim et incluso 
custode cubiculo protinus facesse.' 

25 "Sic desolatus ad cadaveds solacium perfrictis 
oculis et obai-matis ad vigilias animum meurn per- 
mulcebam cantationibus, cum ecce crepusculum et 
nox provecta et nox altior et dein concubia altiora et 
iam nox intempesta, mihique oppido formido cumu- 
latior quidem,, cum repente introrepens mustela 
contra me constitit obtutumque acerrimum in me 
destituit, ut tantillula anirnalis prae nimia sui fiducia 
mihi turbarit animum : denique sic ad illam ' Quin 
abis ' inquam Impurata bestia, teque ad tui similes 
musculos recondis, antequam nostri vim praesentariam 
experiaris ? Quin abis ? ' Terga vortit et cubiculo 
protinus exterminatur : nee mora, cum me somnus 
profundus in imum barathrum repente demergit, ut 
ne deus quidem Delphicus ipse facile discerneret, 
duobus nobis iacentibus, quis esset magis mortuus : sic 
inanimis et indigens alio custode paene ibi non eram. 

26 "Commodum noctis inducias cantus perstrepebat 


necessary.' -What is that?' quoth she. ' Marry,' 
said 1, ' A great lamp replenished with oil, pots of 
wine, and warm water to temper the same, a cup, 
and some other dainty dish that was left at supper.' 
Then she shook her head, and said : ' Away, fool as 
thou art, thinkest thou to play the glutton here, and 
to look for dainty meats, where so long time hath not 
been seen any smoke at all ? Cornest thou here to 
revel, rather than weep and lament suitably to the 
place ? ' And therewithal she turned back and 
commanded her maiden Myrrhine to deliver me a 
lamp with oil, and to close in the watcher and depart 
from the room. 

"Now when I was alone to keep the corpse 
company, I rubbed mine eyes to arm them for 
watching, and to the intent that I would not sleep 
I solaced my mind with singing, and so I passed the 
time till it was dark, and then night deeper and 
deeper still, and then midnight, when behold, as I 
grew already more afraid, there crept in a weasel 
into the chamber, and she came against me and fixed 
a sharp look upon me and put me in very great fear, 
in so much that I marvelled greatly of the audacity 
of so little a beast. To whom I said : ' Get thee 
hence, thou filthy brute, and hie thee to the mice thy 
fellows, lest thou feel my fingers. Why wilt thou 
not go ? ' Then incontinently she ran away, and 
when she was quite gone from the chamber, I fell on 
the ground so fast in the deepest depth of sleep that 
Apollo himself could not well discern whether of us 
two was the dead corpse, for I lay prostrate as one 
without life, and needed a keeper likewise, and had 
as well not been there. 

"At length the cocks began to crow declaring 
night past and that it was now day, wherewithal I 



cristatae cohortis ; tandem expergitus et nimiopavore 
perterritus cadaver accurro et admoto lumine 
revelataque eius facie rimabar singula, quae cuncta 
convenerant : ecce uxor misella flens cum hesternis 
testibus introrumpit anxia, et statim corpori super- 
ruens multumque ac diu deosculata sub arbitrio 
luminis recognoscit omnia. Et conversa Philo- 
despotum requirit actorem : ei praecipit, bono custodi 
redderet sine mora praemium, et oblato statim 
'Summas' inquit 'Tibi, iuvenis,, gratias agimus et 
Hercule ob sedulum istud ministerium inter ceteros 
familiares dehinc numerabimus.' Ad haec ego 
insperato lucro diffusus in gaudium et in aureos 
refulgentes, quos identidem manu rnea ventilabam 
attonitus, ' Immo ' inquam ' Domina, de famulis tuis 
unum putato, et quotiens operam nostram desiderabis, 
fidenter impera.' Vix effatum me statim familiares 
omnes nefarium exsecrati raptis cuiusquemodi telis 
insequuntur: pugnis ille malas offendere, scapulas 
alius cubitis impingere, palmis infestis hie latera 
suffodere.calcibus insultare,capillos distrahere,,vestem 
discindere. Sic in modum superbi iuvenis Adonei 
vel musae vatis Pimpleidos 1 laceratus atque dis- 
cerptus domo proturbor. 

" Ac dum in proxima platea refovens animum in- 
fausti atque improvidi sermonis mei sero reminiscor, 

i The MSS found great difficulties in these proper names 
and had produced a corruption something like Adoni vel mvstci 
vatis Pipletis. Pimpleidos is Beroaldus' suggestion 


waked and, being greatly afraid, ran unto the dead 
body with the lamp in my hand, and I uncovered his 
face and viewed him closely round about ; all the 
parts were there : and immediately came in .the 
wretched matron all blubbered with her witnesses, 
and threw herself upon the corpse, and eftsoons 
kissing him, examined his body in the lamplight, and 
found no part diminished. Then she turned and 
commanded one Philodespotus, her steward, to pay 
the good guardian his wages forthwith, which when 
he had done, he said : ' We thank you, gentle young 
man, for your pains, and verily for your diligence 
herein we will account you as one of the family.' 

"Whereupon I, being joyous of my unhoped gain, 
and rattling my money in my hand, as I gazed upon 
its shining colour, did answer : ' Nay, madam, I pray 
you, esteem me as one of your servitors ; and as often 
as you need my services at any time, I am at your 

" I had not fully declared these words, when as 
behold, all the servants of the house did curse the 
dreadful ominousness of my words, and were assem- 
bled to drive me away with all manner of weapons ; 
one buffeted me about the face with his fists, another 
thrust his elbows into my shoulders, some struck me 
in the sides with their hands, some kicked me, some 
pulled me by the hair, some tore my garments, and 
so I was handled amongst them and driven from the 
house even as the proud young man Adonis who was 
torn by a boar, or Orpheus the Muses' poet. 

" When I was come into the next street to recover 
my spirit, I mused with myself too late mine unwise 
and unadvised words which I had spoken, whereby 
I considered that I had deserved much more punish- 
ment, and that J was worthily beaten for my folly : 



dignuinque me pluribus etiam verberibus fuissfe 
raerito consentio, ecce iam ultimum defletus atque 
conclamatus processerat mortuus, rituque patrio, 
utpote unus de optimatibus, pompa funeris public! 
ductabatur per forum. Occurrit atratus quidam 
maestus in lacrimis genialem canitiem revellens 
senex, et manibus ambabus invadens torum, voce 
contenta quidem sed assiduis singultibus impedita? 
'Per fidem vestram ' inquit ' Quirites, per pietatem 
publicam perempto civi subsistite, et extremum 
facinus in nefariam scelestamque istam feminam 
severiter vindicate. Haec enim, nee ullus alius. 
miserum adulescentem, sororis meae nlium,in adulteri 
gratiam et ob praedam hereditariam extinxit veneno.' 
Sic ille senior lamentabiles questus singulis instrepe- 
bat. Saevire vulgus interdum et facti verisimilitudine 
ad criminis credulitatem impelli : conclamant ignem, 
requirunt saxa, parvulos ad exitium mulieris hortan- 
tur. Emeditatis ad haec ilia fletibus, quanique 
sanctissime poterat adiurans cuncta numina, tantum 
scelus abnuebat. 

28 " Ergo igitur senex ille : ' Veritatis arbitrium in 
divinam providentiam reponamus. Zatchlas adest 
Aegyptius, propheta primarius, qui mecum iamdu- 
dum grandi praemio pepigit reducere paulisper ab 
inferis spiritum corpusque istud postliminio mortis 
animare ' ; et cum dicto iuvenem quempiam linteis 



and by and by the corpse came forth, after the last 
words of farewell and lamentation, which (because it 
was the body of one of the chiefs of the city) was 
carried in funeral pomp round about the market- 
place, according to the rite of the country there. 
And forthwith stepped out an old man weeping and 
lamenting and tearing his venerable and aged hair, 
and ran unto the bier and embraced it, and with 
deep sighs and sobs cried out in this sort : ' O 
masters, I pray you, by the duty which you owe to 
the public weal, take pity and mercy upon this dead 
corpse, who is miserably murdered, and do ven- 
geance on this wicked and cursed woman his wife, 
which hath committed this fact, for it is she and no 
other that hath poisoned her husband, my sister's 
son, to the intent to maintain her adultery and to 
get his hei'itage.' 

" In this sort the old man complained before the 
face of all the people. Then they, astonished at 
these sayings and because the thing seemed to be 
true, began to be very angry and cried out : ' Burn 
her, burn her,' and they sought for stones to throw 
at her, and willed the boys in the street to do the 
same ; but she, weeping in lamentable wise with 
feigned tears, did swear by all the gods that she 
was not culpable of this crime. 

"Then quoth the old man: 'Let us refer the 
judgment of truth to the divine providence of God. 
Behold here is one Zatchlas, an Egyptian, who is 
the most principal prophesier in all this country, 
and who was hired of me long since to bring back 
the soul of this man from hell for a short season, 
and to revive his body from beyond the threshold of 
death for the trial hereof ; and therewithal he 
brought forth a certain young man clothed in linen 




amiculis iniectum pedesque palmeis baxeis inductum 
et adusque deraso capita producit in medium. Huius 
diu manus deosculatus, et ipsa genua contingens, 
'Miserere' ait ' Sacerdos, miserere, per caelestia 
sidera, per inferna numina, per naturalia elementa, 
per nocturna silentia, et adyta Coptica,, et per in- 
crementa Nilotica, et arcana Memphitica, et sistra 
Phariaca, da brevem solis usuram et in aeternum 
conditis oculis modicam lucem infunde. Non obni- 
timur, nee terrae rem suam denegamus, sed ad ul- 
tionis solacium exiguum vitae spatium deprecamur.' 

" Propheta sic propitiatus herbulam quampiam ob 
os corporis et aliam pectori eius imponit. Tune 
orientem obversus incrementa solis augusti tacitus 
imprecatus venerabilis scaenae facie studia praesen- 
tium ad miraculum tantum certatim arrexit. 
29 " Immitto me turbae socium et pone ipsum lectu- 
lum editiorem quendam lapidem insistens cuncta 
curiosis oculis arbitrabar : iam tumore pectus extolli, 
' iam salubris vena pulsari, iam spiritu corpus impleri ; 
et assurgit cadaver et profatur adolescens : ' Quid, 
oro, me post Lethaea pocula iam Stygiis paludibus 


raiment, having on his feet a pair of sandals of palm- 
leaves and his crown shaven ; and he kissed his 
hands often and touched even his knees, saying : ' O 
Priest, have mercy, have mercy, I pray thee by 
the celestial planets, by the powers infernal, by the 
virtue of the natural elements, by the silences of the 
night, by the temples nigh unto the town of Coptos, 
by the increase of the flood of Nile, by the secret 
mysteries of Memphis, and by the rattles x of Pharos: 
have mercy, I say, and call again to the light of the 
sun for a short moment this dead body, and make 
that his eyes which be closed and shut for ever, 
may be opened awhile and see ; howbeit we mean 
not to strive against the law of death, neither intend 
we to deprive the earth of its right, but (to the end 
that vengeance may be done) we crave but a small 
time and space of life.' 

" At this the prophet was moved, and took a cer- 
tain herb, and laid it three times upon the mouth of 
the dead, and he took another, and laid it upon his 
breast in like sort : thus when he had done he 
turned himself unto the East, and made silently 
certain orisons unto the proud and rising sun, which 
caused all the people to marvel greatly at the sight 
of this solemn acting, and to look for the strange 
miracle that should happen. 

" Then I pressed in amongst them nigh behind 
the bier, and got upon a stone to look curiously upon 
this mystery, and behold incontinently his breast did 
swell, the dead body began to receive spirit, his 
principal veins did move, his life came again, and he 
held up his head, and spoke in this sort : ' Why do 
you call me back again to the duties of this transitory 
life, that have already tasted of the water of Lethe, 
1 The sistrum or rattle of Isis. 


innatantem ad momentariae vitae reducitis officia? 
Desine iam, precor, desine, ac me in meam quietem 
permitte.' Haec audita vox de corpora ; sed aliquanto 
propheta commotior ( Quin refers' ait 'Populo sin- 
gula, tuaeque mortis iliuminas arcana ? An non 
putas devotionibus meis posse Diras invocari, posse 
tibi membra lassa torqueri ? ' Suscipit ille de lectulo 
et imo cum gemitu populum sic adorat : ' Malis 
novae nuptae peremptus artibus et addictus noxio 
poculo torum tepentem adultero mancipavi.' 

" Tune uxor egregia capit praesentem audaciam et 
mente sacrilega coarguenti marito resistens altercat. 
Populus aestuat diversa tendentes : hi pessimam 
feminam viventem statim cum corpore mariti sepe- 
liendam, alii mendacio cadaveris fidem non haben- 
30 dam. Sed hanc cunctationem sequens adulescentis 
sermo distinxit ; nam rursus altius ingemescens 
' Dabo/ inquit ' Dabo vobis intemeratae veritatis 
documenta ; perlucide quod prorsus alius nemo cog- 
noverit indicabo.' Tune, digito me demonstrans : 
' Nam cum corporis mei custos hie sagacissimus exer- 
tam mihi teneret vigiliam, cantatrices anus exuviis 
meis imminentes atque ob id reformatae frustra sae- 
pius, cum industriam sedulam eius fallere nequivis- 
sent, postremum, iniecta somni nebula eoque in 
profundam quietem sepulto, me nomine ciere non 
prius desierunt, quam dum hebetes artus et membra 
frigida pigris conatibus ad artis magicae nituntur 


and likewise floated upon the waters of Styx ? Leave 
off, I pray, leave off, and let me lie in quiet rest.' 
When these words were uttered by the dead 
corpse, the prophet, moved with anger, said : ' I 
charge thee to tell, before the face of all the people 
here, the secret occasion of thy death. What? 
Dost thou think that I cannot by my conjurations 
call up the Furies and by my puissance torment thy 
weary limbs ? ' 

"Then the corpse moved up his head again, and 
with a deep groan thus made reverence unto the 
people, and said : ' Verily, I was poisoned by the evil 
arts of my newly wedded wife, and so yielded my 
bed, still warm, unto an adulterer.' Whereat his ex- 
cellent wife, taking present audacity and reproving 
his sayings, with a cursed mind did deny it. The 
people were in a turmoil and divided in sundry 
ways ; some thought best the vile woman should 
be buried alive with her husband, but some said 
there ought no credit to be given unto the dead 
body that spake falsely : which opinion was clean 
taken away by the words which the corpse spoke 
again with deeper groaning, and said : ' Behold, I 
will give you an evident token, which never yet any 
other man knew, whereby you shall perceive that I 
declare the truth,' and by and by he pointed towards 
me that stood on the stone, and said : ' When this, 
the good guardian of my body, watched me diligently 
in the night, and the wicked witches and enchan- 
tresses came into the chamber to spoil me of my 
limbs, and to bring such their purpose to pass, did 
transform themselves into the shape of beasts ; and 
when they could in no wise deceive or beguile his 
vigilant eyes, they cast him at last into so dead and 
sound a sleep that by their witchcraft he seemed 



obsequia. Hie utpote vivus quidem sed turn sopore 
mortuus, quod eodem mecum vocabulo nuncupatur, 
ad suum nomen ignarus exsurgit et in exanimis um- 
brae modum ultroneus gradiens, quamquam foribus 
cubiculi diligenter occlusis, per quoddam foramen pro- 
sectis naso prius ac mox auribus vicariam pro me lanie- 
nam sustentavit : utque fallaciae reliqua convenissent, 
ceram in modum prosectarum formatam aurium ei 
applicant examussim nasoque ipsius similem com- 
parant. Et nunc assistit miser hie praemium non 
industriaej sed debilitationis consecutus.' His dictis 
perterritus tentare fortunam aggredior : iniecta manu 
nasum prehendo, sequitur ; aures pertracto, deruunt. 
Ac dum directis digitis et detortis nutibus praesen- 
tium denotor, dum risus ebullit, inter pedes circum- 
stantium frigido sudore defluens evado. Nee postea 
debilis ac sic ridiculus Lari me patrio reddere potui,, 
sed capillis hinc inde laterum deiectis aurium vulnera 
celavi, nasi vero dedecus linteolo isto pressim aggluti- 
nate decenter obtexi." 

31 Cum primum Thelyphron hanc fabulam posuit, 
compotores vino madidi rursum cachinnum integrant. 
Dumque bibere solita Risui postulant, sic ad me Byr- 
rhaena : " Solemnis " inquit " Dies a primis cunabulis 
huius urbis conditus crastinus advenit, quo die soli 
mortalium sanctissimum deum Risum hilaro atque 
gaudiali ritu propitiamus. Hunc tua praesentia nobis 


without spirit or life. After this they called me by 
my name, and did never cease till the cold members 
of my body began by little and little to revive to 
obey their magic arts : then he, being lively indeed, 
howbeit buried in sleep, because he and I were 
named by one name, rose up when they called, and 
walked as one without sense like some lifeless ghost : 
and they, though the door was fast closed, came in 
by a certain hole and cut off first his nose and then 
his ears, and so that butchery was done to him, 
which was appointed to be done to me. And that 
such their subtlety might not be perceived, they 
made him very exactly a like pair of ears of wax, and 
fitted it exactly upon him, and a nose like his they 
made also, wherefore you may see that the poor 
wretch for his diligence hath for lucre of a little 
money sustained loss of his members.' 

" Which when he had said I was greatly astonished, 
and (minding to feel my face) put my hand to my 
nose, and my nose fell off, and put my hand to 
my ears, and my ears fell off. Whereat all the people 
pointed and nodded at me, and laughed me to scorn : 
but I (being stricken in a cold sweat) crept between 
their legs for shame and escaped away. So J, dis- 
figured and ridiculous, could never return home 
again, but covered the loss of mine ears with my 
long hair and glued this clout to my face to hide the 
shame of my nose. " 

As soon as Thelyphron had told his tale they which 
sat at the table, replenished with wine, laughed 
heartily ; and while they cried for a toast after their 
fashion to Laughter, Byrrhaena spoke to me and 
said : " From the first foundation of this city, we 
alone of all men have had a custom to celebrate with 
joyful and pleasant rites the festival day of the god 

o 97 


efficies gratiorem; atque utinam aliquid de proprio lep- 
ore laetificum honorando deo comminiscaris,quo magis 
pleniusque tanto numini litemus." "Bene" inquam 
" Et fiet ut iubes. Et vellem Hercule materiam rep- 
perire aliquam, quam deus tantus affluenter indueret." 
Post haec monitu famuli mei, qui noctis admone- 
bat, iam et ipse crapula distentus, protinus exsurgo 
et appellata prospere Byrrhaena titubante vestigio 
82 domuitionem capesso. Sed cum primam plateam in- 
vadimuSj vento repentino lumen, quo nitebamur, ex- 
tinguitur, ut vix improvidae noctis caligine liberati, 
digitis pedum detunsis ob lapides, hospitium defessi 
rediremus, dumque iam iunctim proximamus, ecce 
tres quidam vegetes et vastulis corporibus fores nos- 
tras ex summis viribus irruentes ac ne praesentia 
quidem nostra tantillum conterriti, sed magis cum 
aemulatione virium crebrius insultantes, ut nobis 
ac mihi potissimum non immerito latrones esse, et 
quidem saevissimi, viderentur. Statim denique gla- 
dium, quern veste mea contectum ad hos usus ex- 
tuleram, sinu liberatum arripio, nee cunctatus medios 
latrones involo ac singulis, ut quemque colluctantem 
offenderam, altissime demerge, quoad tandem ante 
ipsa vestigia mea vastis et crebris perforati vulneribus 
spiritus efflaverint. Sic proeliatus, iam tumultu eo 
Fotide suscitata, patefactis aedibus anhelans et su- 
dore perlutus irrepo, meque statim utpote pugna 
trium 1 latronum in vicem Geryoneae caedis fatigatum, 
lecto simul et somno tradidi. 

1 The certain emendation, independently made by Salmasius 
and Rohde, of the MSS' pugnarium. 



Laughter, and to-morrow is the feast, when I pray 
you to be present to set out the same more honour- 
ably, and I would with all my heart that you could 
find or devise somewhat merry of yourself, that you 
might the more honour so great a god." To whom 
I answered : " Verily, cousin, I will do as you com- 
mand me, and right glad would I be if I might 
invent any laughing or merry matter to please or 
satisfy Laughter withal." Then at the warning of 
my servant, who told me the night was late, being 
also well drunken with wine, I rose from the table, 
took leave of Byrrhaena, and departed with tottering 
steps on my homeward way. 

But when we came into the first street, the torch 
whereunto we trusted went out with a sudden gust of 
wind, so that with great pain we could scarce get 
out of this sudden darkness to our lodging, weary 
with our toes stumbling against the stones. And 
when we were well nigh come to the door, behold I 
saw three men of great stature heaving and lifting 
at Milo's gates to get in. And when they saw me, 
they were nothing afraid, but assayed with more 
force to break down the doors, whereby they gave 
me occasion, and not without cause, to think that 
they were strong thieves. Whereupon I straightway 
drew my sword which I carried for that purpose 
under my cloak, and ran in amongst them, and 
wounded them deeply as each thrust against me, in 
such sort that they fell down for their many and 
great wounds before my feet and gave up the ghost. 
Thus when I had slain them all, I knocked, sweating 
and breathing, at the door, till Fotis, awaked by the 
tumult, let me in. , And then full weary with the 
slaughter of these three thieves, like Hercules when 
he fought King Geryon, I went to my chamber and 
laid me down to sleep. 


1 COMMODUM punicantibus phaleris Aurora roseum 
quatiens lacertum caelum inequitabat et me securae 
quieti revulsum nox diei reddidit. Aestus invadit 
animum vesperni recordatione facinoris ; complicitis 
denique pedibus ac palmulis in alternas digitorum 
vicissitudines super genua connexis sic grabatum 
cossim insidens ubertim flebam, iam forum et iudicia, 
iam sententiam, ipsum denique carnificem imagina- 
bundus. " An mihi quisquam tarn mitis tamque 
benivolus iudex obtinget, qui me trinae caedis cruore 
perlitum et tot civium sanguine delibutum inno- 
centem pronuntiare poterit ? Hanc illam mihi 
gloriosam peregrinationem fore Chaldaeus Dio- 
phanes obstinate praedicabat." 

Haec identidem mecum replicans fortunas meas 
eiulabam : quati fores interdum et frequenti 

2 clamore ianuae nostrae perstrepi; nee mora, cum 
magna irruptione patefactis aedibus magistratibus 
eorumque ministris et turbae miscellaneae cuncta 
completa statimque lictores duo de iussu magis- 
tratuum immissa manu trahere me sane non reni- 
tentem occipiunt. Ac dum primum angiportum 


So soon as morning was come, and Aurora had lifted 
her rosy arm to drive her bright coursers through the 
shining heaven, and night tore me from peaceful 
sleep and gave me up to the day, my heart burned 
sore with remembrance of the murder which I had 
committed on the night before : and I rose and sat 
down on the bed with my legs across, and clasping 
my hands over my knees with fingers intertwined I 
wept bitterly. For I imagined with myself that I 
was brought before the judge in the judgement-place, 
and that he awarded sentence against me, and that 
the hangman was ready to lead me to the gallows. 
And further I imagined and said : "Alas, what judge 
is he that is so gentle or benign that he will think I 
am unguilty of the slaughter and murder of these 
three men, and will absolve me, stained with the 
innocent blood of so many of the city ? Thus 
forsooth the Assyrian Diophanes did firmly assure 
unto me, that my peregrination and voyage hither 
should be prosperous." 

But while I did thus again and agaiti unfold my 
sorrows and greatly bewail my fortune, behold I 
heard a great noise and cry at the door ; in a moment 
the gates were flung open, and in came the magis- 
trates and officers, and all their retinue, that filled all 
the place, and commanded two sergeants to lay 

insistimus, statim civitas onmis in publicum l effusa 
mira densitate nos insequitur, et quamquam capite 
in terrain, immo ad ipsos inferos iam deiecto 
maestus incederern, obliquato tamen aspectu rem 
admirationis maximae conspicio ; nam inter tot milia 
populi circumstrepentis nemo prorsum, qui non 
risu dirumperetur, aderat. Tandem pererratis plateis 
omnibus et in modum eorum, quibus lustralibus 
piamentis minas portentorum hostiis circumforaneis 
expiant, circumductus angulatim forum eiusque 
tribunal astituor : iamque sublimo suggestu magis- 
tratibus residentibus, iam praecone publico silentium 
clamante, repente cuncti consona voce flagitant, 
propter coetus multitudinem, quae pressurae nimia 
densitate periclitaretur, iudicium tantum theatre 
redderetur. Nee mora, cum passim populus pro- 
currens caveae consaeptum mira celeritate complevit : 
aditus etiam et tectum omne fartim stipaverant ; 
plerique columnis implexi, alii statuis dependuli, 
nonnulli per fenestras et lacunaria semiconspicui, 
miro tamen omnes studio visendi pericula salutis 
neglegebant. Tune me per proscaenium medium 
velut quandam victimam publica ministeria producunt 
3 et orchestrae mediae sistunt. Sic rursum praeconis 
amplo boatu citatus accusator quidam senior exsurgit, 

1 MSS populum. This is Gruter's emendation. 


hands on me and lead me to prison, whereunto I 
willingly obedient ; and as we came to the mouth of 
our lane all the city gathered together in a thick 
throng and followed me, and although I looked 
always on the ground, nay, even to the very pit of 
death for misery, yet sometimes I cast my head aside, 
and marvelled greatly that amongst so many thousand 
people there was not one but laughed exceedingly. 
Finally, when they had brought me through all the 
streets of the city, and to every nook and corner, in 
manner of those as go in procession and do sacrifice 
to mitigate the ire of the gods, they placed me in the 
judgement-hall before the seat of the judges : and 
after that the magistrates had taken their seat on a 
high stage, and the crier had commanded all men to 
keep silence, the people instantly cried out with one 
voice and desired the judges to give sentence in the 
great theatre by reason of the great multitude that 
was there, whereby they were in danger of stifling. 
And behold they ran and very quickly filled the 
whole pit of the theatre, and the press of people 
increased still ; some climbed to the top of the house, 
some got upon the beams, some hung from the 
images, and some thrust in their heads through the 
windows and ceilings, little regarding the dangers 
they were in, so they might see me. Then the 
officers brought me forth openly into the middle of 
the place like some victim, that every man might 
behold me, and made me to stand in the midst of 
the stage. And after that the crier had made an 
" Oyez " and willed all such as would bring any 
evidence against me should come forth, there stepped 
out an old man with an hour-glass of water in his 
hand, wherein, through a small hole like to a funnel, 
the water dropped softly, that he might have liberty 



et ad dicendi spatium vasculo quodam in vicem coli 
graciliter fistulato ac per hoc guttatim defluo infusa 
aqua, populum sic ad oral : 

" Neque parva res ac praecipue pacem civitatis 
cunctae respiciens et exemplo serio profutura tracta- 
tur, Quirites sanctissimi. Quare magis congruit 
sedulo singulos atque universes vos pro dignitate 
publica providere, ne nefarius homicida tot caedium 
lanienam, quam cruenter exercuit, impune com- 
miserit. Nee me putetis privatis simultatibus in- 
stinctum odio proprio saevire : sum namque noc- 
turnae custodiae praefectus, nee in hodiernum credo 
quemquam pervigilem diligentiam meam culpare 
posse. Rem denique ipsam et quae nocte gesta sunt 
cum fide proferam : nam cum fere iam tertia vigilia 
scrupulosa diligentia cunctae civitatis ostiatim singula 
considerans circuinirem, conspicio istum ci-udelis- 
simum iuvenem mucrone destricto passim caedibus 
operantem, iamque tres numero saevitia eius inter- 
emptos ante pedes ipsius spirantibus 1 adhuc cor- 
poribus in multo sanguine palpitantes. Et ipse 
quidem conscientia tanti facinoris merito permotus 
statim profugit et in domum quandam praesidio 
tenebrarum elapsus perpetem noctem delituit ; sed 
providentia deum, quae nihil impunitum nocentibus 
permittit, priusquam iste clandestinis itineribus 
elaberetur, mane praestolatus ad gravissimum iudicii 
vestri sacramentum eum curavi perducere. Habetis 

l So van der Vliet for the MSS' spirantes. 


to speak during the time of the continuance of the 
water; and he began his oration to the people in 
this sort : 

" O most reverend and just judges, the thing 
which I purpose to declare unto you is no small 
matter, but toucheth the estate and tranquillity of 
this whole city, and the punishment thereof may be 
a right good example to others. Wherefore I pray 
you, most venerable fathers, to whom and to every 
of whom it doth appertain to provide for the dignity 
and safety of the common weal, that you would in 
no wise suffer this wicked homicide embrued with 
the blood of so many murders to escape unpunished. 
And think you not that I am moved by private envy 
or hatred, but by reason of mine office, in that I am 
captain of the night watch, and I think that until 
this day no man alive can accuse me to be remiss in 
the same. Now I will declare all the whole matter, 
orderly, as it was done this last night. For when at 
about the third watch of this night past I diligently 
searched every part of the city, spying everything 
close from one door to another, behold I fortuned to 
espy this cruel young man, sword drawn out for 
murder, and already three by his fierce onslaught dead 
at his feet, their bodies still breathing, in a welter 
of blood. Now this when he had done (moved in 
his conscience at so great a crime) he ran away and 
aided by reason of darkness slipped into a house 
and there lay hidden all night ; but, by the pro- 
vidence of the gods, which suifereth no heinous 
offences to remain unpunished, he was taken up this 
morning before he escaped any further by secret 
ways, and so I have brought him hither to your 
honourable presence to receive his desert accordingly. 
So have you here a culpable homicide, one caught in 




itaque reum tot caedibus impiatum, reum coram 
deprensum, reum peregrinum : constanter itaque in 
hominem alienum ferte sententias de eo crimine, 
quodetiam in vestrum civem severiter vindicaretis." 

4 Sic profatus accusator acerrimus immanem vocem 
repressit, ac me statim praeco, si quid ad ea respondere 
vellem, iubebat incipere. At ego nihil tune temporis 
amplius quam flere poteram, non tarn Hercule 
truculentam accusationem intuens quam meam mi- 
seram conscientiam ; sed tamen oborta divinitus 
audacia sic ad ilia : 

" Nee ipse ignore, quam sit arduum, trims civium 
corporibus expositis eum qui caedis arguatur, quam- 
vis vera dicat et de facto confiteatur ultro, tamen 
tantae multitudinl, quod sit innocens, persuadere. 
Sed si paulisper audientiam publica mihi tribuerit 
humanitas, facile vos edocebo me discrimen capitis 
non meo merito, sed rationabilis indignationis eventu 
fortuito tantam criminis invidiam frustra sustinere. 

5 Nam cum a cena me serius aliquanto reciperem 
potulentus alioquin, quod plane verum crimen meum 
non diffitebor, ante ipsas fores hospitii (ad bonum 
autem Milonem civem vestrum devorto) video quos- 
dam saevissimos latrones aditum temptantes et 
domus ianuas cardinibus obtortis evellere gestientes 
claustrisque omnibus, quae accuratissime affixa 
fuerantj violenter evulsis secum iam de inhabitan- 
tium exitio deliberantes. Unus denique et manu 
promptior et corpore vastior his affatibus et ceteros 


the very act, and an accused stranger ; wherefore 
pronounce the judgement against this man being 
an alien, even as you would most severely and 
sharply revenge such an offence found in a known 

In this sort the cruel accuser finished and ended 
his terrible tale : then the crier commanded me to 
speak if I had anything to say for myself, but I could 
in no wise utter any word at all for weeping : yet 
verily I esteemed not so much his rigorous accusa- 
tion, as I did consider mine own miserable conscience. 
Howbeit (being inspired by divine audacity) at 
length I began to say : 

" Verily I know that it is a hard thing for him that 
is accused to have slain three persons, to persuade 
you, being so many, that he is innocent, although he 
should declare the whole truth, and confess the 
matter how it was in deed ; but if your Honours 
will vouchsafe to give me audience, I will shew you 
that if I be condemned to die, I have not deserved it 
by mine own desert, but that I was moved by the 
fortune of reasonable anger to do that deed. For 
returning somewhat late from supper yesternight 
(being well tippled with wine, which I will not 
deny) and approaching nigh unto my lodging, which 
was in the house of good Milo, a citizen of this city, 
I fortuned to espy three great thieves attempting to 
break down his walls and gates, and to open the 
locks to enter in, by tearing away all the doors from 
the posts and by dragging out the bolts, which were 
most firmly fixed ; and they consulted amongst 
themselves how they would cruelly handle such as 
they found in the house. And one of them being of 
more courage and of greater stature than the rest, 
spoke unto his fellows, urging them on, and said : 



incitabat : ' Heus pueri, quam maribus animis et 
viribus alacribus dormientes aggrediamur. Omnis 
cunctatio, ignavia omnis facessat e pectore ; stricto 
mucrone per totam domum caedes ambulet : qui 
sopitus iacebit, trucidetur ; qui repugnare tempta- 
verit, feriatur. Sic salvi recedemus, si salvum in 
domo neminem reliquerimus.' Fateor, Quirites, 
extremes latrones (boni civis officium arbitratus, 
simul et eximie metuens et hospitibus meis et mihi) 
gladiolo, qui me propter huiusmodi pericula comita- 
batur, armatus fugare atque proterrere eos aggressus 
sum : at illi barbari prorsus et immanes homines 
neque fugani capessunt et, cum me viderent in ferro, 
6 tamen audaciter resistunt. Dirigitur proeliaris acies : 
ipse denique dux et signifer ceterorum validis me 
viribus aggressus illico manibus ambabus capillo 
arreptum ac retro reflexum effligere lapide gestit ; 
quern dum sibi porrigi flagitat, certa manu percussum 
feliciter prosterno. Ac mox alium pedibus meis 
mordicus inhaerentem per scapulas ictu temperato, 
tertiumque improvide occurrentem pectore ofFenso 
peremo. Sic pace vindicata, domoque hospitum ac 
salute communi protecta, non tantum x impunem me, 
verum etiam laudabilem publice credebam fore, qui 
ne tantillo quidem umquam crimine postulatus, sed 

i Koch's emendation for the MSS' tarn, 


'Come, boys, take men's hearts unto you, and let us 
enter into every part of the house, and attack them 
that slumber therein. No delay, no cowardice in 
your hearts ; let murder with drawn sword go 
throughout the dwelling. Such as we find asleep 
let us slay, and such likewise as resist let us kill, and 
so by that mean's we shall escape without danger if 
we leave none alive therein.' Verily, ye judges, I 
confess that I drew out my sword, which I bore for 
this manner of danger, against those three abandoned 
robbers, willing to terrify and drive them away ; for 
I thought that it was the office and duty of one that 
beareth good will to this common weal so to do, 
especially since they put me in great fear, both for 
myself and for mine host. But when those cruel and 
terrible men would in no case run away, nor fear my 
naked sword, but boldly resisted against me, I ran 
upon them and fought valiantly. One of them which 
was the captain and leader of the rest invaded me 
strongly and drew me by the hair with both his 
hands, and would have beaten me with a great stone, 
but while he groped therefor, I proved the hardier 
man, and threw him down at my feet and killed him. 
I took likewise the second that clasped about my 
legs and bit me, and slew him also, thrusting him 
through the shoulder. And the third that came 
running carelessly upon me, after that I had struck 
him full in the stomach, fell down dead. Thus when 
I had restored peace and delivered myself, the 
house, mine host, and all his family from this 
present danger, I thought that I should not only 
escape unpunished, but also have some great reward 
of the city for my pains. Moreover I that have 
always been clear and unspotted of crime and well 
looked upon in mine own country, and that have 



probe spectatus apud meos, semper innocentiam 
commodis cunctis antetuleram. Nee possum 
repperire cur iustae ultionis, qua contra latronse 
deterrimos commotus sum, nunc istum reatum sus- 
tineam, cum nemo possit monstrare vel proprias inter 
nos inimicitias praecessisse ac ne omnino mihi notos 
illos latrones usquam fuisse ; vel certe ulla praeda 
monstretur, cuius cupidine tantum flagitium credatur 

7 Haec profatus rursum lacrimis obortis, porrectisque 
in preces manibus, per publicam misericordiam, per 
pignorum caritatem maestus tune hos, tune illos 
deprecabar. Cumque iam humanitate cornmotos, 
misericord ia fletuum afFectos omnes satis crederem, 
solis et lustitiae testatus oculum casumque prae- 
sentem meum commendans deum providentiae, paulo 
altius aspectu relato conspicio prorsus totum populum 
(risu cachinnabili diffluebant) nee secus ilium bonum 
hospitem parentemque meum Milonem risu maximo 
dissolutum. At tune sic tacitus mecum " En fides " 
inquam " En conscientia : ego quidem pro hospitis 
salute et homicida sum et reus capitis inducor, at ille 
non contentus quod mihi nee assistendi solacium 
perhibuit, insuper exitium meum cachinnat." 

8 Inter haec quaedam mulier per medium theatrum 
lacrimosa et flebilis, atra veste contecta, parvulum 
quendam sinu tolerans decurrit, ac pone earn anus 
alia pannis horridis obsita paribusque maesta fletibus, 
ramos oleagineos utraeque quatientes, quae circum- 


esteemed mine innocency above all the treasure of 
the world, can find no reasonable cause why, having 
justly punished these evil robbers, I should now be 
accused and condemned to die ; since there is none 
that can affirm that there has been at any time either 
grudge or hatred between us, or that we were aught 
but men mere strangers and of no acquaintance : and 
last of all, no man can prove that I committed that 
deed for any lucre or gain." 

When I had ended my words in this sort, behold I 
wept again piteously, and holding up my hands, I 
prayed all the people by their common mercy and for 
the love of their poor infants and children to shew 
me some pity and favour. And when I believed 
their hearts somewhat relented and moved by my 
lamentable tears, I called upon the eyes of the sun 
and of Justice to witness that I was not guilty of the 
crime, and so to the divine providence I committed 
my present estate ; but lifting up somewhat mine 
eyes again, I perceived that all the people laughed 
with exceeding laughter, and especially my good 
friend and host Milo. Then thought I with my- 
self: "Alas! where is faith, where is conscience? 
Behold for the safeguard of mine host and his family 
I am a slayer of men, and brought to the bar as a 
murderer. Yet is he not contented with coming 
not to comfort and help me, but likewise laugheth 
with all his heart at my destruction." 

When this was a-doing, out came a woman 
weeping into the middle of the theatre arrayed in 
mourning vesture, and bearing a child in her arms. 
And after her came an old woman in ragged robes 
crying and howling likewise : and these brought with 
them olive-boughs, and going about the bier whereon 
lay the three slain bodies all covered up, with loud 



fusae lectulum, quo peremptorum cadavera contecta 
fuerant, plangore sublato se lugubriter eiulantes, 
" Per publicam misericord iam, per commune ius 
humanitatis " aiunt " Miseremini indigne caesorum 
iuvenum nostraeque viduitati ac solitudini de vindicta 
solacium date. Certe parvuli huius in primis annis 
destituti fortunis succurrite et de latronis huius san- 
guine legibus vestris et disciplinae publicae litate." 

Post haec magistratus qui natu maior assurgit et 
ad populum talia : " De scelere quidem, quod serio 
vindicandum est, nee ipse qui commisit potest diffiteri, 
sed una tantum subseciva sollicitudo nobis relicta est, 
ut ceteros socios tanti facinoris requiramus : necenim 
verisimile est hominem solitarium tres tam validos 
enecasse iuvenes. Prohinc tormentis veritas eruenda, 
nam et qui comitabatur eum puer clanculo profugit, 
et res ad hoc deducta est, ut per quaestionem sceleris 
sui participes indicet, ut tam dirae factionis funditus 
9 formido perematur." Nee mora, cum ritu Graeciensi 
ignis et rota, turn ormie flagrorum genus inferuntur. 
Augetur oppido, immo duplicatur mihi maestitia 
quod integro saltern mori non licuerit. Sed anus 
ilia, quae fletibus cuncta turbaverat, " Prius " inquit 
" Optimi cives, quam latronem istum miserorum 
pignorum meorum peremptorem cruci affigatis, per- 
mittite corpora necatorum revelari, ut et formae 
simul et aetatis contemplatione magis magisque ad 

lamentation cried out miserably in this manner : " O 
right judges, we pray you by the public pity and the 
humanity which is due to all, to have mercy upon 
these persons so foully slain, and succour our widow- 
hood and loss of our dear husband and solace us with 
vengeance ; and especially help this poor infant, who 
is now an orphan and deprived of all good fortune, 
and execute your justice by order and law upon the 
blood of this thief who is the occasion of all our 

When they had spoken these words, the most 
ancient of the judges did rise and say to the people: 
" Touching this murder which deserveth great punish- 
ment, this malefactor himself cannot deny it : but one 
duty further is left us, to enquire and try out 
whether he had no coadjutors to help him in this 
great crime. For it is not likely that one man alone 
could kill three such great and valiant persons : 
wherefore the truth must be tried out by the rack, 
for the slave that was with him fled secretly away, 
and so we must needs put him to the question, that 
we may learn what other companions he had, and 
root out the nest of these mischievous murderers." 
And there was no long delay, for, according to the 
custom of Greece, the fire, the wheel, and many other 
torments were brought in : then straightway my 
sorrow increased or rather doubled, in that I could 
not at least end my life with whole and unperished 
members. But by and by the old woman, who had 
troubled all the court with her howling, implored the 
judges, saying : " Before ye send to the gallows this 
thief that hath destroyed my wretched children, let 
him uncover the bodies which he hath slain, that 
every man may see their comely shape and youthful 
beauty and be the more enraged thereat, and that he 



lustam indignationem arrecti pro modo facinoris 

His dictis applauditur, et illico me magistratus 
ipsum iubet corpora, quae lectulo fuerant posita, mea 
manu detegere. Luctantem me ac diu renuentem 
praecedens facinus instaurare nova ostensione lictores 
iuasu magistratuum quam instantissime compellunt, 
manum d^nique ipsam e regione lateris tundentes in 
exitium suum super ipsa cadavera porrigunt. Evictus 
tandem necessitate succumbo, et ingratis licet arrepto 
pallio retexi corpora. Di boni, quae facies rei ! 
Quodmonstrum ! Quae fortunarum mearum repentina 
mutatio ! Quamquam enim iam in peculio Proser- 
pinae et Orci familia numeratus, subito in contrariam 
faciem obstupefactus haesi nee possum novae illius 
imaginis ration em idoneis verbis expedire : nam 
cadavera ilia iugulatorum hominum erant tres utres 
inflati variisque secti foraminibus et, ut vespertinum 
proelium meum recordabar, his locis hiantes, quibus 
latrones Ulos vulneraveram. 

Tune ille quorundam astu paulisper cohibitus risus 
libere iam exarsit in plebem : hi gaudii nimietate 
gratulari, illi dolorem ventris manuum compressione 
sedare, et certe laetitia delibuti meque respectantes 
cuncti theatro facessunt. At ego, ut primum illam 
laciniam prenderam,fixus in lajndem steti gelidus,nihil 
secus quam una de ceteris theatri statuis vel colum- 
nis: nee prius ab inferis emersi quam Milo hospes 
aceessit et indecta manu me renitentem lacrimisque 


may receive condign and worthy punishment, accord- 
ing to the quality of the offence." 

Therewithal they were delighted at her words, and 
the judge commanded me forthwith to discover the 
bodies of the slain that lay upon the bier, with my 
own hand ; but when I refused a good space, by 
reason I would not anew make my deed apparent to 
the eyes of all men, the sergeants charged me by 
commandment of the judges, and thrust me forward 
to do the same, and forced my hand, to its own un- 
doing, from my side over the bier. I then (being 
enforced by necessity) though it were against my 
will, drew away the pall and uncovered their bodies : 
but, O good Lord, what a strange sight did I see ! 
What a monster! What sudden change of all my 
sorrows ! For I, who had seemed as though I were 
already one of the house of Proserpina and of the 
family of death, could not sufficiently express the 
form of this new sight, so far was I amazed and 
astonished thereat ; for why ? The bodies of the 
three slain men were no bodies, but three blown 
bladders, mangled in divers places, and they seemed 
to be wounded in those parts where I remembered I 
had wounded the thieves the night before. 

Then did that laughter, which they had before 
artfully concealed, break out exceedingly among the 
people. Some rejoiced marvellously with the remem- 
brance thereof, some held their stomachs that ached 
with joy, but every man delighted at this passing 
sport, gazing on me, and so departed out of the 
theatre. But I, from the time that I uncovered the 
bodies, stood still as one turned to stone and cold as 
ice, no otherwise than as the other statues and 
pillars there, neither came I up from this hell of 
mine, until such time as Milo, mine host, came and 



rursum promicantibus crebra singultientem dementi 
violentia secum attraxit et observatis viae solitudi- 
nibus per quosdam anfractus clomum suam perduxit, 
maestumque me atque etiam tune trepidum variis 
solatur affatibus ; nee tamen indignationem iniuriae, 
quae inhaeserat altius meo pectori, ullo modo permul- 
cere quivit. 

11 Ecce illico etiam ipsi magistrates cum suis insigni- 
bus domum nostram ingressi talibus me monitis 
delenire gestiunt : " Neque tuae dignitatis vel etiam 
prosapiae tuorum ignari sumus, Luci domine ; nam 
et provinciam totam inclitae vestrae familiae nobilitas 
complectitur. Ac ne istud quod vehementer inge- 
mescis contumeliae causa perpessus es : omnem 
itaque de tuo pectore praesentem tristitudinem 
mitte, et angorem am'mi depeile, nam lusus iste 
quern publice gratissimo deo Risui per annua 
r'everticula sollemniter celebramus, semper com- 
menti novitate florescit : iste deus et auctorem 
suum propitius ubique comitabitur amanter nee 
unquam patietur ut ex animo doleas, sed frontem 
tuam serena venustate laetabit assidue. At tibi 
civitas ornnis pro ista gratia honores egregiosobtulit ; 
nam et patronum scripsit et ut in acre stet imago 
tua decrevit." Ad haec dicta sermonis vicem refero : 
"Tibi quidem " inquam " Splendidissima et unica 
Thessaliae civitas, honorum talium parem gratiam 
memini. Verum statuas et imagines dignioribus mei- 

12que maioribus reservare suadeo." Sic pudenter 


took me by the hand and with civil violence led me 
away weeping and sobbing, whether I would or no ; 
and so that I might not be seen, he brought me 
through many blind ways and lanes to his house, 
where he went about to comfort me, that was sad 
and yet fearful, with gentle entreaty of talk ; but he 
could in no wise mitigate my impatience of the 
injury which I conceived within my mind. 

And behold, by and by the very magistrates and 
judges, with their ensigns, entered into the house 
and endeavoured to pacify me in this sort, saying : 
" O Lucius, we are advertised of your dignity, and 
know the dignity of your ancient lineage, for the 
nobility of your kin do possess the greatest part of 
all this province. And think not that you have 
suffered the thing wherefore you weep to any 
reproach of yours or ignominy ; put away then 
all sorrow out of your heart and banish this anguish 
of mind: for this day, which we celebrate once a 
year in honour of the god Laughter, is always 
renowned with some solemn novel prank, and the 
god doth everywhere graciously accompany with the 
inventor and doer thereof, and he will not suffer that 
you should be sorrowful, but he will diligently make 
glad your countenance with serene beauty. And 
verily all the city, for the grace that is in you, hath 
rewarded you with great honours, and hath written 
you down their patron: and, further, that your 
statue or image shall be set up in copper for a per- 
petual remembrance." To whom I answered: "As 
for such benefits as I have received already of this 
famous city of Thessaly, I yield and render most 
entire thanks, but as touching the setting up of any 
statues or images, I would wish that they should 
be reserved for such as are more worthy and greater 



allocutus et paulisper hilaro vultu renidens, quan- 
tumque poteram laetiorem me refingens, comiter 
abeuntes magistrates appello. 

Et ecce quidam intro currens famulus " Rogat 
te " ait " Tua parens Byrrhaena et convivii, cui te 
sero desponderas, iam appropinquantis admonet." 
Ad haec ego formidans et procul perhorrescens 
etiam ipsam domum eius, " Quam vellem" inquam 
" Parens, iussis tuis obsequium commodare, si per 
fidem liceret id facere: hospes enim meus Milo per 
hodierni diei praesentissimum numen adiurans effecit, 
ut eius hodiernae cenae pignerarer, nee ipse discedit 
nee me digredi patitur. Prohinc epulare vadi- 
monium difFeramus." Haec adhuc me loquente 
manu firmiter iniecta Milo iussis balnearibus assequi 
producit ad lavacrum proximum : at ego vitans oculos 
omnium et quern ipse fabricaveram risum obviorum 
declinans lateri eius adambulabam obtectus, nee qui 
laverim, qui terserim, qui domum rursum reverterim 
prae rubore memini, sic omnium oculis nutibus ac 
deriique manibus denotatus impos animi stupebam. 
13 Raptim denique paupertina Milonis cenula per- 
functuSj causatusque capitis acrem dolorem, quern 
mini lacrimarum assiduitas incusserat, concedo cubi- 
tum venia facile tributa, et abiectus in lectulo meo 
quae gesta fuerant singula maestus recordabar, 
quoad tandem Fotis mea, dominae suae cubitu pro- 


than I." When I had spoken these words somewhat 
modestly with a more cheerful countenance, and 
shewed myself more merry than I was before, the 
judges and magistrates departed, and I reverently 
took my leave of them and bade them farewell. 

And behold, by and by there came one running to 
me in haste, and said : " Sir, your cousin Byrrhaena 
desireth you to take the pains, according to your 
promise yesternight, to come to supper; for it is 
ready." But I, greatly fearing, and shrinking even 
afar at the very thought of her house, said unto the 
messenger : " My friend, I pray you to tell my 
cousin, your mistress, that I would willingly be at 
her commandment, but for breaking my troth and 
credit. For mine host Milo enforced me to assure 
him, and compelled me by the feast of this present 
day, that I should pledge me to his dinner and com- 
pany, and he goeth not forth nor suffereth me to 
depart from him ; wherefore I pray you to excuse me 
and to defer my promise until another time." And 
while I was speaking these words, Milo took me by 
the hand and led me towards the next bath ; but by 
the way I went crouching under him to hide myselt 
from the sight of men, because I had ministered such 
an occasion of laughter. And when I had washed 
and wiped myself and returned home again, I never 
remembered any such thing, so greatly was I ashamed 
at the nodding and pointing of every person. 

Then I went to supper with Milo, where God wot 
we fared but poorly : wherefore (feigning that my 
head did ache by reason of my sobbing and weeping 
all the day) I desired license to depart to my chamber, 
and so I went to bed, and there I began to call to 
mind all the sorrows and griefs that I was in the 
day before, until such time as my love Fotis (having 



eurato, sui longe dissimilis advenit : non enim laeta 
facie nee sermone dicaculo, sed vultuosam frontem 
rugis insurgentibus asseverabat. Cunctanter ac 
timide denique sermone prolate, "Ego" inquit 
"Ipsa confiteor ultro, ego tibi huius molestiae 
fui," et cum dicto loruni quempiam sinu suo depromit 
mihique porrigens, "Cape," inquit " Oro te, et de 
perfida muliere vindictam, immo vero licet maius 
quodvis supplicium sume. Nee tamen me putes, oro, 
sponte angorem istum tibi concinnasse : di mihi 
melius, quam ut mei causa vel tantillum scrupulum 
patiare, ac si quid adversi tuum caput respicit, id 
omne protinus meo luatur sanguine. Sed quod 
alterius rei causa facere iussa sum, mala quadara 
14mea sorte in tuam recidit iniuriam." Tune ego 
familiaris curiositatis admonitus factique causam 
delitescentem nudari gestiens suscipio : " Omnium 
quidem nequissimus audacissimusque lorus iste, 
quern tibi verberandae destinasti, prius a me con- 
cisus atque laceratus interibit ipse quam tuam plu- 
meam lacteamque contingat cutem. Sed mihi cum 
fide memora, quod tuum factum fati l scaevitas con- 
secuta in meum convertit exitium. Adiuro enim 
tuum mihi carissimum caput, nulli me prorsus ac ne 
tibi quidem ipsi asseveranti posse credere, quod tu 
quicquam in meam cogitaveris perniciem : porro 
meditatus innoxios casus incertus vel etiam adversus 
culpaenon potest addicere." Cum isto fine sermonis 
1 A genitive depending on scaevitas seems clearly to have 
dropped out of the text. Helm and van der Vliet both print 
fortunac, but I have preferred Eohde's fati, as more likely to 



brought her mistress to sleep) came into the chamber 
not as she was wont to do, for she seemed nothing 
pleasant neither in countenance nor talk, but with a 
sour face and frowning look, and began to speak 
slowly and fearfully in this sort : " Verily I confess 
that I have been the occasion of all thy trouble this 
day," and therewithal she pulled out a whip from 
under her apron, and delivered it to me, saying : 
" Revenge thyself of me, mischievous harlot that I 
am, or rather slay me. Yet think not that I did 
willingly procure this anguish and sorrow unto you ; 
I call the gods to witness. For I had rather suffer 
mine own body to be punished than that you should 
receive or sustain any harm by my means, but that 
which I was bidden to do was wrought for some 
other purpose, but behold the unlucky chance for- 
tuned on you by mine evil occasion." Then I, very 
envious and desirous to know the secret cause of the 
matter, answered : "In faith," quoth I, "This most 
pestilent and evil-favoured whip (which thou hast 
brought to scourge thyself withal) shall first be 
broken in a thousand pieces, than it should touch or 
hurt thy delicate and dainty skin ; but I pray you 
tell me truly what deed of yours has been turned by 
the perversity of fortune to my trouble and sorrow. 
For I dare swear by the love that I bear unto you 
that I will not be persuaded (though you yourself 
endeavour the same) that ever you went about to 
trouble or harm me : and moreover no chance, though 
it be uncertain or even unlucky, can make a crime 
of harmless and innocent intentions." When I had 
spoken these words, I perceived that Fotis's eyes 

disappear by haplography, owing to its resemblance to the 
preceding word. 



oculos Fotidis meae udos ac tremulos et prona 
libidine raarcidos iam iamque semiadopertulos 
adnixis et sorbillantibus saviis sitienter haurie- 

15 Sic ilia laetitia recreata " Patere " inquit"Oro, 
prius fores cubiculi diligenter occludam, ne sermonis 
elapsi profana petulantia committam grande flagi- 
tium"; et curn dicto pessulis iniectis et uncino 
firmiter immisso, sic ad me reversa colloque meo 
manibus ambabus implexa voce tenui et admodum 
diminuta, " Paveo " inquit " Et formido solide domus 
huius operta detegere et arcana dominae meae reve- 
lare secreta : sed melius de te doctrinaque tua prae- 
sumo, qui praeter generosam natalium dignitatem, 
praeter sublime ingenium, sacris pluribus initiatus 
profecto nosti sanctam silentii fidem. Quaecumque 
itaque commisero huius religiosi pectoris tui pene- 
traiibus, semper haec intra consaeptum clausa cus- 
todias oro, et simplicitatem relationis meae tenaci- 
tate taciturnitatis tuae remunerare. Nam me, quae 
sola mortalium novi, amor is, quo tibi teneor, in- 
dicare compellit ; iam scies omnem domus nostrae 
statum, iam scies herae meae miranda secreta, quibus 
obaudiunt manes, turbantur sidera, coguntur numina, 
serviunt elementa. 

" Nee unquam magis artis huius violentia nitittir, 
quam cum scitulae formulae iuvenem quempiam 
libenter aspexit, quod quidem ei solet crebriter eve- 

16 nire. Nunc etiam adolescentem quendam Boeotium 


were wet and trembling and dull with desire, and 
now half closed, so that I embraced and kissed her 
sweetly, and greedily drank therefrom. 

Now when she was somewhat restored unto joy 
she desired me that she might shut the chamber 
door, lest by the intemperance of her tongue in 
uttering any unfitting words there might grow further 
inconvenience. Wherewithal she barred and propped 
the door and came to me again, and embracing me 
lovingly about the neck with both her arms, spoke 
with a whispering soft voice and said : " I do greatly 
fear to discover the privities of this house, and to 
utter the secret mysteries of my dame, but I have 
such a confidence in you and in your wisdom, by 
reason that you are come of so noble a line and 
endued with so profound sapience, and further in- 
structed in so many holy and divine things that you 
will faithfully keep silence, and that whatsoever I 
shall reveal or declare unto you, you would close 
them within the bottom of your heart, and never 
discover the same, but rather repay the simple tale 
that I shall tell you by keeping it utterly hidden 
and dark ; for I ensure you the love that I bear you 
enforceth me, that alone of mortals know aught 
thereof, to utter it. Now shall you know all the 
estate of our house, now shall you know the hidden 
secrets of my mistress, unto which the powers of hell 
do obey, and by which the celestial planets are 
troubled, the gods made weak, and the elements 

" Neither is the violence of her art in more 
strength and force than when she espieth some 
comely young man that pleaseth her fancy, as often- 
times happeneth. For now she loveth to distraction 
one young Boeotian, a fair and beautiful person, on 



summe decorum efflictim deperit totasque artis manus, 
machinas omnes ardenter exercet : audivi vesperi, 
meis his, inquam, auribus audivi, quod non celerius 
sol caelo ruisset noctique ad exercendas illecebras 
raagiae maturius cessisset, ipsi soli nubilam caliginem 
et perpetuas tenebras comminantem. Hunc iuve- 
nem, cum e balneis rediret ipsa, tonstrinae residen- 
tem hesterna die forte conspexit, ac me capillos eius, 
qui iam caede cultrorum desecti humi iacebant, 
clanculo praecepit J auferre : quos me sedulo furtim- 
que colligentem tonsor invenit, et quod alioquin 
publicitus maleficae disciplinae perinfames sumus, 
arreptam inclementer increpat : e Tune, ultima, non 
cessas subinde lectorum iuvenum capillamenta surri- 
pere ? Quod scelus nisi tandem desines, magistra- 
tibus te constanter obiciam.' Et verbum facto secuttu 
immissa manu scrutatus e mediis papillis meis iam 
capillos absconditos iratus abripuit : quo gesto gravi- 
ter affecta mecumque reputans dominae meae mores, 
quod huiusmodi repulsa satis acriter commoveri me- 
que verberare saevissime consuevit, iam de fuga con- 
silium tenebam, sed istud quidem tui contemplatione 
1? abieci statim. Verum cum tristis inde discederem, 
conspicio quendam forficulis attondentem caprinos 
utres ; quos cum probe constrictos inflatosque et iam 
pendentes cernerem, ne prorsus vacuis inanibus re- 
direm, 2 capillos eorum humi iacentes, flavos ac per hoc 

1 Theemendationof Scioppiusforthe MSS' praecipitavitferre. 

2 These five words occur in the MSS after discederem at the 
beginning of the chapter. Their transposition here (suggested 
by van der Vliet) seems necessary. 



whom she employeth all her sorcery and enchant- 
ment ; and I heard her threaten with mine own ears 
yesternight, that because the sun had not then 
presently gone down and the night come to minister 
convenient time to work her magical enticement, she 
would veil the same sun with a thick shadow of cloud 
and bring perpetual darkness over all the world. 
And you shall know that when she saw yesternight 
this Boeotian sitting at the barber's, when she came 
from the baths, she secretly commanded me to 
gather some of the hair of his head which lay dis- 
persed upon the ground, and to bring it home ; 
which when I thought to have done, gathering it up 
secretly with care, the barber espied me, and by 
reason it was bruited throughout all the city that 
we were witches and enchantresses, he seized upon 
me and cried out, and chid me, saying : ' Will you 
never leave off stealing of handsome young men's 
hairs ? In faith I assure you, unless you cease your 
wicked sorceries, I will complain to the justices.' 
Wherewithal he came angrily towards me and took 
away the hair which I had gathered out of mine 
apron, which grieved me very much. For 1 knew 
my mistress's manners, that she would not be con- 
tented, but beat me cruelly. Wherefore I intended 
to run away, but the remembrance of you put 
always that thought out of my mind, and so I 
came homeward very sorrowful ; but because I 
would not seem to come in my mistress's sight 
with empty hands, I saw a man shearing of 
blown goat-skins. Now these were well tied up 
and blown out, and were hanging up, and the hair 
he had shorn off was yellow, and much resembled 



illi Boeotio iuveni consimiles, plusculos aufero eosque 
dominae meae dissimulata veritate trado. 

" Sic noctis initio, priusquam cena te reciperes, 
Pamphile mea iam vecors animi tectam scandulare 
conscendit, quod altrinsecus aedium patore perflabili 
nudatum ad omnes, orientales ceterosque, aspectus 
pervium,, maxime his artibus suis commodatum, 
secreto colit, priusque apparatu solito instruit 
feralem officinam, omne genus aromatis, et ignora- 
biliter laminis litteratis et infelicium avium duran- 
tibus damnis,defletorum sepultorum etiam cadaverum 
expositis multis admodum membris : hie nares et 
digiti, illic carnosi clavi pendentium, alibi trucidat- 
orum servatus cruor et extorta dentibus ferarum 
18 trunca calvaria. Tune, decantatis spirantibus 
fibris, litat vario latice, nunc rore fontano, nunc lacte 
vaccino, nunc melle montano, libat et mulsa. Sic 
illos capillos in mutuos nexus obditos atque nodatos 
cum multis odoribus dat vivis carbonibus adolendos : 
tune protinus inexpugnabili magicae disciplinae 
potestate et caeca numinum coactorum violeiitia ilia 
corpora, quorum fumabant stridentes capilli, spiritum 
mutuantur humanum et sentiunt et audiunt et am- 
bulant, et qua nidor suarum ducebat exuviarum 
veniunt et pro illo iuvene Boeotio aditum gestientes 
fores insiliunt ; cum ecce crapula madens et impro- 
vidae noctis deceptus caligine, audacter mucrone 
destricto in insani modum Aiacis armatus, non ut ille 
vivis pecoribus infestus tota laniavit armenta, sed 
longefortius^quitres inflates caprinos utres exanimasti, 


the hair of the Boeotian : and I took a good deal 
thereof, and dissembling the truth I brought it to 
my mistress. 

" And so when night came, before your return from 
supper, Pamphile my mistress, being now out of her 
wits, went up to a high gallery of her house, blown 
upon by all the winds of heaven, opening to the east 
and all other parts of the world ; well prepared for 
these her practices, she gathered together all her 
accustomed substance for fumigations, she brought 
forth plates of metal carved with strange characters, 
she prepared the bones of birds of ill-omen, she made 
ready the members of dead men brought from their 
tombs. Here she set out their nostrils and fingers, 
there the nails with lumps of flesh of such as were 
hanged, the blood which she had reserved of such as 
were slain, and skulls snatched away from the jaws 
and teeth of wild beasts. Then she said certain 
charms over entrails still warm and breathing, and 
dipped them in divers waters, as in well water, cow 
milk, mountain honey and mead ; which when she 
had done she tied and lapped up the hair together, 
and with many perfumes and smells threw it into a 
hot fire to burn. Then by the strong force of this 
sorcery, and the invisible violence of the gods so 
compelled, those bodies, whose hair was burning in 
the fire, received human breath, and felt, heard, and 
walked, and, smelling the scent of their own hair, 
came and rapped at our doors instead of the Boeotian. 
Then came you being well tippled, and deceived by 
the obscurity of the night, and drew out your sword 
courageously, like furious Ajax, and killed, not as he 
did whole herds of living beasts, but three blown 
skins, a deed more brave than his, to the intent that 

after the slaughter of so many enemies without 




ut ego te prostratis hostibus sine macula sanguinis 
non homicidam nunc sed utricidam amplecterer." 
19 Et sic lepido sermone Fotis, at invicem cavillatus 
ego " Igitur iam et ipse possum " inquam " Mihi 
primam istam virtutis adoream ad exemplum duodeni 
laboris Herculei numerare, vel trigemino corpori 
Geryonis vel triplici formae Cerberi, totidem peremp- 
tos utres coaequando. Sed ut ex animo tibi volens 
omne delictum, quo me tantis angoribus implicasti, 
remittam, praesta quod summis votis expostulo et 
dominam tuam, cum aliquid huius divinae disci- 
plinae molitur, ostende, cum deos invocat, certe cum 
reformatur, ut videam : sum namque coram magiae 
noscendae ardentissimus cupitor, quamquam mihi nee 
ipsa tu videare rerum rudis vel expers. Scio istud 
et plane sentio, cum semper alioquin spretorem 
matronalium amplexuum, sic tuis istis micantibus 
oculis et rubentibus bucculis et renidentibus crinibus 
et hiantibus osculis et fragrantibus papillis in ser- 
vilem modum addictum atque mancipatum teneas 
volentem: iam denique nee Larem require nee 
domuitionem paro et nocte ista nihil antepono." 
20 " Quam vellem " respondit ilia, " Praestare tibi, 
Luci, quod cupis, sed propter invidos mores in solitu- 
dinem semper abstrusa et omnium praesentia viduata 
solet huiusmodi secreta perficere. Sed tuum postu- 
latum praeponam periculo meo idque observatis 


effusion of blood, might embrace and kiss not an 
homicide, but an utricide." 

Thus pleasantly Fotis, but I again mocked and 
taunted her, saying : " Verily now may I for this first 
achieved enterprise be numbered with Hercules, who 
by his valiant prowess performed the twelve notable 
labours, as Geryon with three bodies, and as Cerberus 
with three heads : for I have slain three blown goat- 
skins. But to the end I may pardon thee with all my 
heart of that which thou hast committed, bringing 
upon me so much grief and pain, perform the thing 
which I shall most earnestly desire of thee, that is, 
bring me that I may see and behold when thy 
mistress goes about any sorcery or enchantment, 
and when she prays unto her gods, but most of all 
when she changes her form, for I am very desirous of 
knowing more closely that art of magic, and as it 
seems unto me, thou thyself hast some experience 
in the same. For this I know and plainly feel, that 
(whereas I have always irked and loathed the em- 
bracings and love even of noble matrons) I am so 
stricken and subdued with thy shining eyes, ruddy 
cheeks, glittering hair, close kisses, and sweet-smell- 
ing breasts, that thou boldest me bound and tied to 
thee like a slave with my own goodwill, and I neither 
have mind to go home, nor to depart hence, but 
esteem the pleasure I shall have with thee this night 
above all the joys of the world." " Then," quoth she, 
"O my Lucius, how willing would I be to fulfil your 
desire, but besides that she is of a grudging and 
surly disposition, she gets herself into solitary places 
and out of the presence of every person when she 
mindeth to make her enchantments ; howbeit I re- 
gard more to gratify your request than I do esteem 
the danger of my life : and I will look for oppor- 
i 129 


opportunis temporibus sedulo perficiana,modo,ut initio 
praefata sum, rei tantae fidem silentiumque tribue." 
Sic nobis garrientibus libido mutua et animos siraul 
et membra suscitat : omnibus abiectis amiculis ac 
tandem 1 denique intecti atque nudati bacchamur in 
Venerem, cum quidem mihi iam fatigato de propria 
liberalitate Fotis puerile obtulit corollarium, iamque 
luminibus nostris vigilia marcidis iiifusus sopor etiam 
in altum diem nosattinuit. 

21 Ad hunc modum transactis voluptarie paucis 
noctibus, quadam die percita Fotis ac satis trepida 
me accurrit indicatque dominam suam, quod nihil 
etiam tune in suos amores ceteris artibus promoveret, 
nocte proxima in avem sese plumaturam atque ad 
suum cupitum sic devolaturam ; proin memet ad rei 
tantae speculam caute praepararem. Iamque circa 
primam noctis vigiliam ad illud superius cubiculum 
suspenso et insono vestigio me perducit ipsa, perque 
rimam ostiorum quampiam iubet arbitrari quae sic 
gesta sunt. Iam primum omnibus laciniis se devestit 
Pamphile et arcula quadam reclusa pyxides plusculas 
inde depromit, de quis unius operculo remoto atque 
indidem egesta unguedine diuque palmulis suis 
affricta ab imis unguibus sese totam adusque 
summos capillos perlinit, multumque cum lucerna 
secreto collocuta membra tremulo succussu quatit : 
quis leniter fluctuantibus promicant mollesplumulae, 
crescunt et fortes pinnulae, duratur nasus incurvus, 
coguntur ungues adunci, fit bubo Pamphile. Sic 
edito stridore querulo, iam sui periclitabunda pau- 

1 The MSS have actenus, which was naturally read hactenus 
by the old editors. Ae tandem is Helm's emendation, which 
gives much better sense hactenus, indeed, is almost the opposite 
of what is required. 



tunity and time for that which you desire, but always 
upon this condition, that, as I bade you before, you 
secretly keep close such things as are done." Thus 
as we reasoned together the courage of Venus assailed 
as well our desires as our members ; and so she un- 
rayed herself and came to me, and we spent the 
night in pastime and dalliance, and Fotis giving 
me all that she might and more, at last drowsy 
and unlusty sleep came upon our eyes and we 
were constrained to lie still until it was now high 

Now when we had thus delightfully passed a few 
nights on this wise, on a day Fotis came running to 
me in great trembling and said that her mistress, for 
that she could not any the more gain towards that she 
loved, intended, the night following, to transform 
herself into a bird, and to fly to him she desired ; 
wherefore she willed me privily to prepare myself to 
see the same. And about the first watch of the 
night she led me, walking a-tiptoe and very softly, 
into that high chamber, and bade me look through 
the chink of a door. Where first I saw how Pamphile 
put off all her garments, and took out of a certain coffer 
sundry kind of boxes, of the which she opened one and 
tempered the ointment therein with her fingers, and 
then rubbed her body therewith from the sole of the 
foot to the crown of the head : and when she had 
spoken much privily with the lamp, she shaked all 
the parts of her body, and as they gently moved 
behold I perceived a plume of feathers did burgeon 
out upon them, strong wings did grow, her nose 
was more crooked and hard, her nails turned into 
claws, and so Pamphile became an owl : then she 
cried and screeched like a bird of that kind, and 

illing to prove her force, moved herself from the 



latim terra resultat, mox in altum sublimata forin- 
secus totis alis evolat. 

22 Et ilia quidem magicis suis artibus volens re- 
formatur, at ego, nullo decantatus carmine, praesentis 
tantum facti stupore defixus quidvis aliud magis 
videbar esse quam Lucius, sic exterminatus animi, 
attonitus in amentiam vigilans somniabar ; defrictis 
adeo diu pupulis an vigilarem scire quaerebam. 
Tandem denique reversus ad sensum praesentium, 
arrepta manu Fotidis et admota meis luminibus, 
" Patere, oro te," inquam " Dum dictat occasio, magno 
et singular! me afFectionis tuae fructu perfrui et 
impertire nobis unctulum indidem, per istas tuas 
papillas, mea mellitula, tuumque mancipium irre- 
munerabili beneficio sic tibi perpetuo pignera, ac iam 
perfice ut meae Veneri Cupido pinnatus assistam 
tibi." " Ain ? " inquit " Vulpinaris amasio, meque 
sponte asceam cruribus meis illidere compellis ? Sic 
inermem vix a lupulis conserve Thessalis ; hunc 
23 alitem factum ubi quaeram, videbo quando ? " " At 
niihi scelus istud depellant caelites," inquam "Ut 
ego quamvis ipsius aquilae sublimis volatibus toto 
caelo pervius et supremi lovis certus nuntius vel 
laetus armiger, tamen non ad meum nidulum post 
illam pinnarum dignitatem subinde devolem ! Adiuro 
per dulcem istum capilli tui nodulum, quo meum 
vinxisti spiritum, me nullam aliam meae Fotidi malle. 
Tune etiam istud meis cogitationibus occurrit, cum 




ground by little and little, till at last she leaped up 
and flew quite away. 

Thus by her sorcery she transformed her body 
into what shape she would, which when I saw I was 
greatly astonished, and although I was enchanted 
by no kind of charm, yet I thought I seemed not to 
have the likeness of Lucius, for so was 1 vanished 
from my senses, amazed in madness, that I dreamed 
waking, and felt mine eyes to know whether I were 
asleep or no. But when I was come again to myself, 
I took Fotis by the hand, and moved it to mine 
eyes, and said : " I pray thee, while occasion doth 
serve, that I may have the fruition of the fruits of 
thy love towards me, and grant me some of this oint- 
ment. O Fotis, my honey, I pray thee by thy sweet 
breasts, and I will ever hereafter be bound unto you 
by a mighty gift and obedient to your commandment, 
if you will but make that I may be turned into a 
bird, and stand, like Cupid with his wings, beside 
you my Venus." Then said Fotis : " Will you go 
about to deceive me now, my love, like a fox, and 
enforce me to work mine own sorrow P 1 Do I hardly 
now save you, that are without defence, from these 
she-wolves of Thessaly, and then if you be a bird 
where shall I seek you ? And when shall I see you ? " 
Then answered I : "God forbid that I should commit 
such a crime, for though I could fly into the air as 
an eagle, or though 1 were the sure messenger or 
joyful armour-bearer of Jupiter, yet would I have 
recourse to nest with thee for all that glory of wings : 
and I swear by the knot of thy amiable hair, that 
wherewith you have fast bound my spirit, I love not 
any other person rather than Fotis. " Moreover, this 
cometh to my mind, that if by virtue of the ointment 
1 Lit. " to apply the axe to my owu legs." 



semel avem talem perunctus induero, domus omnes 
procul me vitare debere : quam pulchro enim quam- 
que festive matronae perfruentur amatore bubone ! 
Quid, quod istas nocturnas aves, cum penetraverint 
Larem quempiam, sollicite prehensas foribus videmus 
affigi ut, quod infaustis volatibus familiae minantur 
exitium, suis luant cruciatibus ? Sed, quod sciscitari 
paene praeterivi, quo dicto factove rursum exutis 
pinnulis illis ad meum redibo Lucium?" Bono 
animo es quod ad huius rei curam pertinet" ait. 
< Nam mihi domina singula monstravit, quae possunt 
rursus in fades hominum tales figuras reformare : nee 
istud factum putes ulla benivolentia, sed ut ei re- 
deunti medela salubri possem subsistere. Specta 
denique quam parvis quamque futilibus tanta res pro- 
curetur herbulis : anethi modicum cum lauri foliis im- 
missum rore fontano datur lavacrum et poculum." 
24 Haec identidem asseverans summa cum trepida- 
tione irrepit cubiculum et pyxidem depromit arcula ; 
quam ego amplexus ac deosculatus prius, utque mihi 
prosperis faveret volatibus deprecatus, abiectis pro- 
pere laciniis totis, avide manus immersi et haurito 
plusculo uncto corporis mei membra perfricui. lam- 
que alternis conatibus libratis brachiis in avem si- 
milem gestiebam : nee ullae plumulae nee usquam 
pmnulae, sed plane pili mei crassantur in saetas, sed 
cutis tenelk duratur in corium et in extimis palmulis 

1 O% 


I shall become a bird, I will take heed that I come 
nigh no man's house : for how prettily and wittily 
would these matrons handle their lovers if they were 
owls : for when they fly into any place by night and 
are taken, they are nailed upon posts, and so they 
are worthily rewarded with torment because it is 
thought that they bring evil fortune to the house by 
their ill-omened flight. But I pray you (which I had 
almost forgotten) tell me by what means, when I am 
an owl, I shall return to my pristine shape and 
become Lucius again ? " " Fear not for that," quoth 
she, " For my mistress hath taught me the way to bring 
all to pass, and to turn again the figures of such as are 
transformed into the shapes of men. Neither think you 
she did it for any goodwill or favour to me, but to the 
end I might help her and minister this remedy to her 
when she returneth home. Consider, I pray you, with 
yourself, with what frivolous trifles and herbs so mar- 
vellous a thing is wrought, for I give her nothing 
else, save a little dill and laurel-leaves in well- 
water, the which she drinketh, and washeth herself 

Which when she had often spoken she went all 
trembling into the chamber, and took a box out of 
the coffer, which I first kissed and embraced, and 
prayed that I might have good success in my pur- 
pose to fly. And then I put off all my garments 
and greedily thrust my hand into the box and took 
out a good deal of ointment, and after that I had 
well rubbed every part and member of my body, 1 
hovered with mine arms, and moved myself, looking 
still when I should be changed into a bird as Parn- 
phile was ; and behold neither feathers did burgeon 
out nor appearance of wings, but verily my hair did 
turn into ruggedness and my tender skin wore tough 



perdito numero toti digiti coguntur in singulas un- 
gulas et de spinae meae termino graridis cauda pro- 
cedit : iam facies enormis et os prolixum et nares 
hiantes et labiae pendulae, sic et aures immodicis 
horripilant auctibus ; nee. ullum miserae reforma- 
tionis video solacium nisi quod mihi iam nequeunti 
25 tenere Fotidem natura crescebat. Ac dum salutis 
inopia cuncta corporis mei considero, non avem me 
sed asinum video, querens de facto Fotidis, sed iam 
hutnano gestu simul et voce pi-ivatus, quod solum 
poteram, postrema deiecta labia humidis tamen oculis 
obliquum respiciens ad illam tacitus expostulabam. 
Quae ubi primum me talem aspexit, percussit faciem 
suam manibus infestis, et " Occisa sum misera " cla- 
mavit : " Me trepidatio simul et festinatio fefellit et 
pyxidum similitudo decepit. Sed bene, quod facilior 
reformationis huius medela suppeditat ; nam rosis 
tantum demorsitatis exibis asinum statimque in 
meum Lucium postliminio redibis. Atque utinam 
vesperi de more nobis parassem corollas aliquas, ne 
moram talem patereris vel noctis unius : sed primo 
diluculo remedium festinabitur tibi." 
26 Sic ilia maerebat, ego vero quamquam perfectus 
asinus et pro Lucio iumentum sensum tamen retine- 
bam humanum. Diu denique ac multum mecum 
ipse deliberavi an nequissimam facinerosissimamque 
feminam illam spissis calcibus feiiens et mordicus 


and hard; my fingers and toes leaving the numbet 
of five grew together into hooves, and from the end 
of my back grew a great tail, and now my face 
became monstrous and my mouth long and my 
nostrils wide, my lips hanging down, and mine ears 
exceedingly increased with bristles ; neither could 
I see any comfort of my transformation, save that 
the nature of my members was increasing likewise 
to the great discomfiture of Fotis, and so with- 
out all help (viewing every part of my poor 
body) I perceived that I was no bird, but a plain 
ass. Then I thought to blame Fotis, but being 
deprived as Avell of language as human gesture, 
I did all that I could, and looked upon her with 
hanging lips and watery eyes, as though to re- 
proach her ; but she (as soon as she espied me in 
such sort) smote her face angrily with her hands and 
cried out : " Alas, poor wretch that I am, I am 
utterly cast away. The fear that I was in and my 
haste hath beguiled me, but especially the mistaking 
of the box hath deceived me. But it matters not so 
much, since sooner a medicine may be gotten for 
this than for any other thing : for if thou couldst 
get roses and eat them, thou shouldst be delivered 
from the shape of an ass, and become my Lucius 
again. And would to God I had gathered some 
garlands this evening past according to my custom ; 
then shouldst thou not have continued an ass one 
night's space : but in the morning I will seek thee 
this remedy." 

Thus Fotis lamented in pitiful sort, but I that was 
now a perfect ass, and for Lucius a brute beast, did 
yet retain the sense and understanding of a man. 
And I did devise a good space with myself, whether 
it were best for me to kill this mischievous and 


appetens necare deberem : sed ab incepto temerario 
melior me sententia revocavit, ne morte multata 
Fotide salutares mihi suppetias rursus extinguerem. 
Deiecto itaque et quassanti capite ac demussata tem- 
poral! contumelia durissimo casui meo serviens ad 
equum ilium vectorem meum probissimum in stabu- 
lum concedo, ubi alium etiam Milonis quondam hos- 
pitis mei asinum stabulantem inveni ; atque ego rebar, 
si quod inesset mutis animalibus taciturn ac naturale 
sacramentum, agnitione ac miseratione quadam in- 
ductum equum ilium meum hospitium ac loca lautia 
mihi praebiturum : sed pro lupiter hospitalis et 
Fidei secreta numina ! Praeclarus ille vector meus 
cum asino capita conferunt in meamque perniciem 
illico consentiunt et, verentes scilicet cibariis suis, 
vix me praesepio videre proximantem ; deiectis auri- 
bus iam furentes infestis calcibus insequuntur, et 
abigor quam procul ab hordeo quod apposueram 
vesperi meis manibus illi gratissimo famulo. 
27 Sic affectus atque in solitudinem relegatus arigulo 
stabuli concesseram, dumquede insolentiacollegarum 
meorum mecum cogito atque in alterum diem auxilio 
rosario Lucius denuo futurus equi perfidi vindictam 
meditor, respicio pilae mediae, quae stabuli trabes 
sustinebat, in ipso fere meditullio Eponae deae simu- 
lacrum residens aediculae, quod accurate corollis 
roseis equidem recentibus fuerat ornatum. Denique 


wicked harlot by tearing her with my mouth and 
kicking her with my heels. But a better thought 
reduced me from so rash a purpose, for I feared lest 
by the death of Fotis I should be deprived of all 
remedy and help. Then drooping and shaking my 
head, and dissimulating my ire for the nonce, and 
bending to my adversity, I went into the stable to my 
own good horse that once carried me, where I found 
another ass of Milo's sometime mine host, and I did 
verily think that my own horse (if there were any 
natural conscience or faithfulness in brute beasts) 
would know me and take pity upon me, and proffer 
me a good lodging for that night. But fie upon 
Jupiter that is the god of hospitality and the secret 
divinity of Faith ! For see, my good horse and the 
ass as it were consented together to work my harm lest 
I should eat up their provender, and scarce did they 
see me come nigh the manger, but they put down 
their ears and kicked me with their heels from their 
meat, which I myself had given that grateful servant 
of mine, the horse, the night before. 

Then I, being thus handled by them and driven 
away, got me into a corner of the stable, where 
(while 1 remembered the uncourtesy of my colleagues, 
and how on the morrow I should return to Lucius by 
the help of a rose, and then revenge myself on my 
own horse) I fortuned to espy, on the midmost pillar 
sustaining the rafters of the stable, the image of the 
goddess Epona, 1 in the midst thereof in a small shrine 
which was prettily garnished and decked round about 
nth fair fresh roses; then in hope of a present remedy 
leaped up with my fore feet as high as I could, and 

retching out my neck and lengthening my lips, I 
>veted exceedingly to snatch some roses. But in an 
1 The patron goddess of horses and stables. 


agnito salutari praesidio, pronus spei, quantum ex- 
tensis prioribus pedibus anniti poteram, insurgo valide 
et cervice prolixa nimiumque porrectis labiis, quanto 
maxima nisu poteram corollas appetebam. Quod me 
pessima scilicet sorte conantem servulus meus, cui 
semper equi cura mandata fuerat, repente conspiciens, 
indignatus exsurgit, et " Quousque tandem" inquit, 
"Cantherium patiemur istum paulo ante cibariis 
iumentorum, nunc etiam simulacris deorum infestum ? 
Quin iam ego istum sacrilegum debilem claudumque 
reddam," et statim telum aliquod quaeritans temere 
fascem lignorum positum offendit, rimatusque fron- 
dosum fustem cunctis vastiorem non prius miserum 
me tundere desiit, quam sonitu vehementi et largo 
strepitu percussis ianuis, trepido etiam rumore viciniae 
conclamatis latronibus profugit territus. 
28 Nee mora, cum vi patefactis aedibus globus latro- 
num invadit omnia, et singula domus membra cingit 
armata factio, et auxiliis hinc inde convolantibus 
obsistit discursus hostilis : cuncti gladiis et facibus 
instruct! noctem illuminant ; coruscat in modum 
ortivi solis ignis et mucro. Tune horreum quoddam 
satis validis claustris obsaeptum obseratumque, quod 
mediis aedibus constitutum gazis Milonis fuerat re- 
fertum, securibus validis aggressi diffindunt, quo 
passim recluso totas opes vehunt raptimque con- 
strictis sarcinis singuli partiuntur. Sed gestaminum 
modus numerum gerulorum excedit : tune opulentiae 
nimiae nimio ad extremas incitas deducti, nos duos 
asinos et equum meum productos e stabulo quantum 


evil hour did I go about that enterprise, for behold, 
the boy to whom I gave always charge of my horse 
suddenly spied me and ran in great anger towards me, 
and said : " How long shall we suffer this vile ass, 
that doth not only eat up his fellows' meat, but also 
would spoil the images of the gods ? Why do I not 
make lame and weak this wretch ? " Therewithal 
looking about for some cudgel, he espied where 
lay a faggot of wood, and choosing out a crabbed 
truncheon of the biggest he could find, did never 
cease beating of me, poor wretch, until such time as 
by great noise and rumbling, he heard the doors of 
the house burst open, and the neighbours crying 
" Thieves" in lamentable sort, so that, being stricken 
in fear, he fled away. 

And by and by the doors were broken down and a 
troop of thieves entered in, and kept every part and 
corner of the house with weapons. And as men re- 
sorted to aid and help them which were within the 
doors, the thieves resisted and kept them back, for 
each one was armed with his sword and a torch in his 
hand, the glimpses whereof did yield out such light 
as if it had been day. Then they broke open with 
their axes a great chest shut and sealed with double 
locks, wherein was laid in the middle of the house 
all the treasures of Milo, and ransacked the same ; 
which when they had done, they packed it up and 
gave every one a portion to carry ; but when they 
had more bags to bear away than men to carry them, 
they were at their wits' end for the abundance of all 

is exceeding wealth, and so they came into the stable 
nd took us two poor asses and my horse and loaded 
with the greatest trusses that we were able to bear. 

nd when we were out of the house, they followed 

d threatened us with greet staves, and willed one of 


potest gravioribus sarcinis onerant et domo iam vacua 
minantes baculis exigunt, unoque de sociis ad specu- 
landum, qui de facinoris inquisitione nuntiaret, relicto, 
nos crebra tundentes per avia montium ducunt con- 

29 lamque rerum tantarum pondere et mentis ardui 
vertice et prolixo satis itinere nihil a mortuo differe- 
bam. Sed mihi sero quidem, serio tamen subvenit 
ad auxilium civile decurrere et interposito venerabili 
principis nomine tot aerumnis me liberare : cum 
denique iam luce clarissima vicum quempiam fre- 
quentem et nundinis celebrem praeteriremus, inter 
ipsas turbelas, Graecorum genuine sermone nomen 
augustum Caesaris invocare temptavi, et " O " quidem 
tantum disertum ac validum clamitavi, reliquum 
autem Caesaris nomen enuntiare non potui : aspernati 
latrones clamorem absonum meum, caedentes hinc 
inde miserum corium nee cribris iam idoneum relin- 
quunt. Sed tandem mihi inopinatam salutem lupiter 
ille tribuit : nam cum multas villulas et casas amplas 
praeteriremus, hortulum quendam prospexi satis 
amoenum, in quo praeter ceteras gratas herbulas 
rosae virgines matutino rore florebant. His inhians 
et spe salutis alacer ac laetus propius accessi, dumque 
iam labiis undantibus affecto, consilium me subit 
longe salubrius, ne si rursum asino remoto prodirem 
in Lucium, evidens exitium inter manus latronum 
offenderem vel artis magicae suspectione vel indicii 
futuri criminatione. Tune igitur a rosis, et quidem 
necessario, temperavi, et casum praesentem tolerans 
in asini faciem faena rodebam. 



their fellows to tarry behind and bring them tidings 
what was done concerning the robbery, and so they 
beat us forward over great hills out of the high way. 
But I, what with my heavy burden and the steep 
side of the mountain, and my long journey, did 
nothing differ from a dead ass ; wherefore I deter- 
mined with myself, though late yet in good earnest, 
to seek some remedy of the civil power, and by 
invocation of the awful name of the Emperor to be 
delivered from so many miseries. And on a time 
when it was high day, as I passed through a village 
of much people, where was a great fair, I came 
amongst a multitude, and I thought to call upon the 
renowned name of the Emperor in that same Greek 
tongue, and I cried out cleverly and aloud, " O," 
but " Caesar " I could in no wise pronounce : but the 
thieves, little regarding my unmusical crying, did lay 
on and beat my wretched skin in such sort, that after 
it was neither apt nor meet for leather nor sieves. 
Howbeit, at last Jupiter ministered unto me an 
unhoped remedy. For when we had passed by many 
farms and great houses, I fortuned to espy a pleasant 
garden, wherein, besides many other flowers of 
delectable hue, were new and fresh roses that dripped 
with the morning dew, and gaping on these (being very 
joyful and brisk to catch some as I passed by) I drew 
nearer and nearer. Now while my lips watered upon 
them, I thought of a better advice more profitable for 

ic : lest if from being an ass I should become Lucius 
lin, I might fall into the hands of the thieves, 

id either by suspicion that I were some witch, or 

>r fear that I would utter their theft, I should be slain 
'a surety ; wherefore I abstained for that time, for it 
is needful, from eating of the roses, and (enduring 

iiy present adversity) I ate hay as other asses did. 



1 DIEM ferme circa medium, cum iam flagrantia soils 
caleretur, in pago quodam apud notos ac familiares 
latronibus senes devertimus ; sic enim primus aditus 
et sermo prolixus et oscula mutua, quamvis asino, 
sentire praestabant : nam et rebus eos quibusdarn 
dorso meo depromptis munerabantur, et secretis 
gannitibus, quod essent latrocinio partae, videbantur 
indicare. lamque nos omni sarcina levigates in 
pratum proximum passim libero pastui tradidere, nee 
me cum asino vel equo meo compascuus coetus 
attinere potuit adhuc insolitum alioquin prandere 
faenum ; sed plane pone stabulum prospectum hortu- 
lum iam fame perditus fidenter invado et, quamvis 
crudis holeribus, affatim tamen ventrem sagino, 
deosque comprecatus omnes cuncta prospectabam 
loca, sicubi forte conterminis in hortulis candens 
repperirem rosarium. Nam et ipsa solitudo iam mihi 
bonam fiduciam tribuebat, si devius et frutectis 
absconditus sumpto remedio de iumenti quadripedis 
incurvo gradu rursum erectus in hominem, inspec- 
tante nullo, resurgerem. 

2 Ergo igitur cum in isto cogitationis salo fluctuarem, 
aliquanto longius video frondosi nemoris convallem 


WHEN noon was come, and now the broiling heat of 
the sun had most power, we turned into a village to 
certain old men of the thieves' acquaintance and 
friends, for verily their meeting and embracing 
together did give me (poor ass) cause to deem the 
same : and they took the truss from my back, and 
gave them part of the treasure that was in it, and 
they seemed to whisper and tell them that it was 
stolen goods ; and after that we were unladen of our 
burdens they let us loose into a meadow to pasture, 
but I would not feed there with my own horse and 
Milo's ass, for that I was not wont to eat hay, but I 
must seek my dinner in some other place. Where- 
fore I leaped into a garden which was behind the 
stable, and being well nigh perished with hunger, 
although I could find nothing there but raw and 
green salads, yet I filled my hungry guts therewithal 
abundantly, and praying unto all the gods, I looked 
about in every place if I could espy any roses in the 
gardens by, and my solitary being alone did put me 
in good hope, that if I could find any remedy, being 
far from the public road and hidden by the bushes, I 
should presently out of the low gait of a beast be 
changed out of every one's sight into a man walking 

Now while I tossed on the flood of these cogita- 
tions, I looked about, and behold I saw afar off a 
K 145 


umbrosam, cuius inter varias herbulas et laetissima 
virecta fulgentium rosarum mineus color renidebat : 
iamque apud mea non usquequaque feriria prae- 
cordia Veneris et Gratiarum lucum ilium arbitra- 
bar, cuius inter opaca secreta floris genialis regius 
nitor relucebat. \ Tune invocato hilaro atque pro- 
spero Eventu cursu me concito proripio, ut Hercule 
ipse sentirem non asiiium me, verum etiam equum 
currulem nimio velocitatis refectum. Sed agilis atque 
praeclarus ille conatus fortunae meae scaevitatem 
anteire non potuit ; iam enim loco proximus non 
illas rosas teneras et amoenas, madidas divini roris et 
nectaris, quas rubi felices beatae spinae generant, at 
ne convallem quidem usquam, nisi tantum ripae 
fluvialis marginem densis arboribus saeptam video : 
hae arbores in lauri faciem prolixe foliatae pariunt in 
modum floris inodori porrectos caliculos modice puni- 
cantes, quos equidem fragrantes minime rurestri 
vocabulo vulgus indoctum rosas laureas appellant, 
3 quarumque cuncto pecori cibus letalis est. Talibus 
fatis implicitus et iam ipsam saluternrecusans sponte 
illud venenum rosarium sumere gestiebam ; sed dum 
cunctanter accedo decerpere, iuvenis quidam, ut 
mihi videbatur, hortulanus, cuius omnia prorsus 
holera vastaveram, tanto damno cognito, cum grandi 
baculo furens decurrit, arreptumque me totum plagis 
obtundit adusque vitae ipsius periculum, nisi tandem 
sapienter alioquin ipse mihi tulissem auxilium : nam 
lumbis elevatis in altuni, pedum posterioribus calci- 


shadowed valley adjoining to a wood, where, amongst 
divers other herbs and pleasant verdures, I thought 
I saw many flourishing roses of bright damask colour. 
So that I said within my mind, which was not wholly 
bestial : " Verily the place is the grove of Venus and 
the Graces, where secretly glittereth the royal hue 
of so lively and delectable a flower." Then I, desiring 
the help of the god of good fortune, ran lustily 
towards the wood, in so much that I felt myself no 
more an ass but a swift-coursing horse, but my agility 
and quickness could not prevent the cruelty of my 
fortune ; for when I came to the place, I perceived 
that they were no roses neither tender nor pleasant, 
neither moistened with the heavenly drops of dew 
nor celestial liquor, which grow out of the rich 
thicket and thorns. Neither did I perceive that 
there was any valley at all, but only the bank of the 
river environed with great thick trees, which had 
long branches like unto laurel, and bear a flower 
without any manner of scent but somewhat red of 
hue, and the common people call them by the name 
of laurel-roses, which are very poisonous to all manner 
of beasts. Then was I so entangled with unhappy 
fortune, that I little esteemed mine own life, and 
went willingly to eat of those roses, though I knew 
them to be present poison. But as I drew near very 
slowly, I saw a young man that seemed to be the 
gardener come upon me, the same that I had 
devoured up all his herbs in the garden, and he, 
knowing now full well his great loss, came swearing 
with a great staff in his hand, and laid upon me in 
such sort that I was well nigh dead ; but I speedily 
devised some remedy for myself, for I lifted up my 
legs and kicked him with my hinder heels, so that I 
left him lying at the hill foot well nigh slain, and so 



bus iactatis in eum crebriter, iam mulcato graviter 
atque iacente contra proclive mentis attigui, fuga 
me liberavi. Sed illico mulier quaepiam, uxor eius 
scilicet, simul eum prostratum et semianimem ex 
edito despexit, eiulabili cum plangore ad eum statim 
prosilit, ut sui videlicet miseratione mihi praesens 
crearet exitium : cuncti enim pagani, fletibus eius 
exciti, statim couclamant canes atque ad me lanian- 
dum rabie perciti ferrent impetum passim cohor- 
tantur. Tune igitur procul dubio iam morti proxi- 
mus, cum viderem canes et modo magnos et numero 
multos et ursis ac leonibus ad compugnandum idoneos 
in me convocatos exasperari, e re nata capto consilio, 
fugam desino ac me retrorsus celeri gradu rursum in 
stabulum quo deverteramus recipio. At illi, canibus 
iam aegre cohibitis, arreptum me loro quam valido 
ad ansulam quandam destinatum rursum caedendo 
confecissent profecto, nisi dolore plagarum alvus 
artata crudisque illis oleribus abundans et lubrico 
fluxu saucia, fimo fistulatim excusso, quosdam extremi 
liquoris aspergine, alios putore nidoris faetidi, a meis 
iam quassis scapulis abegisset. 

4 Nee mora, cum iam in meridiem prono iubare rur- 
sum nos ac praecipue me longe gravius onustum 
producunt illi latrones stabulo : iamque confecta 
bona parte itineris et viae spatio defectus et sar- 
cinae pondere depressus ictibusque fustium fatigatus 
atque etiam ungulis extritis iam claudus et titubans, 
rivulum quendam serpentis leniter aquae proptei 


1 ran away : incontinently came out a certain woman, 
doubtless his wife, who, seeing from above her 
husband lying half dead, cried and howled in pitiful 
sort, hasting towards her husband, to the intent that 
by her loud cries she might purchase to me present 
destruction ; for all the persons of the town, moved 
and raised by her noise, came forth and cried for 
dogs, and hied them on madly to tear me down. Out 
came a great company of bandogs and mastiffs, more 
fit to pull down bears and lions than me, whom when 
I beheld I thought vei'ily that I should presently die, 
so that I took what counsel I might from the occasion, 
and thought no more of flight, but turned myself 
about and ran as fast as ever I might to the stable 
whither we had lodged. Then the men of the town 
called in their dogs, which they scarce could hold, 
and took me, and bound me to the staple of a post 
with a great thong, and scourged me till I was well 
nigh dead : and they would undoubtedly have slain 
me, had it not come to pass that my belly, narrowed 
with the pain of their beating and reeking with the 
green herbs that lay therein, caught such a looseness 
that I all besprinkled the faces of some with my 
liquid dung, and with the filthy stench thereof en- 
forced the others to leave my sides now well nigh 

Not long after, which was now towards eventide, 
the thieves loaded us again, and especially me, with 
the heaviest burden, and brought us forth out of the 
stable, and when we had gone a good part of our 
journey, what with the long way, my great burden, 
the beating of staves, and my worn hooves, lame and 
tottering, I was so weary that I could scarcely go ; 
then as I walked by a little river running with fair 
water, I said to myself: " Behold, now I have found 


insistens, subtil em occasionem feliciter nactus cogi 
tabam totum memet flexis scite cruribus pronum 
abicere, certus atque obstinatus nullis verberibus ad 
ingrediundum exsurgere, immo etiam paratus non 
fusti tantum sed machaera perfossus occumbere. 
Rebar enim iam me prorsus exanimatum ac debilem 
merer! causariam missionem, certe latrones partim 
impatientia morae, partim studio festinatae fugae, 
dorsi mei sarcinam duobus ceteris iumentis distribu- 
turos, meque in altioris vindictae vicem lupis et 
5 vulturiis praedam relicturos. Sed tarn bellum con- 
silium meum praevertit sors deterrima : namque 
ille alius asinus, divinato et antecapto meo cogitatu, 
statim se mentita lassitudine cum rebus totis offudit, 
iacensque in mortuum non fustibus, non stimulis, ac 
ne cauda et auribus cruribusque undique versu'm 
elevatis temptavit exsurgere, quoad tandem fustibus, 
postumae spei fatigati secumque collocuti, ne tarn diu 
mortuo, immo vero lapideo asino servientes fugam 
morarentur, sarcinis eius mihi equoque distributis, 
destricto gladio poplites eius totos amputant, ac 
paululum a via retractum per altissimum praeceps in 
vallem proximam etiam nunc spirantem praecipitant. 
Tune ego miseri commilitonis fortunam cogitans statui 
iam dolis abiectis et fraudibus asinum me bonae frugi 
dominis exhibere : nam et secum eos animadverteram 
colloquentes, quod in proximo nobis esset habenda 
mansio et totius viae finis quieta eorumque esset sedes 



a good occasion. For I will fall down when I come 
yonder, bending my legs beneath me, and surely I 
will not rise again for any scourging or beating, and 
not only will I defy the cudgel, but even be pierced 
by the sword, if they shall use it upon me." And 
the cause why I determined so to do was this : I 
thought that I was so utterly feeble and weak that 
I deserved my discharge for ill health, and certainly 
that the robbers (partly for that they would not stay in 
their journey, partly in haste to flee) would take off 
the burden from my back, and put it upon my two 
fellows, and so for my further punishment leave me as 
a prey to the wolves and ravenous beasts. But evil 
fortune prevented so good a consideration ; for the 
other ass, being of the same purpose that I was of, 
and forestalling me, by feigned and coloured weari- 
ness fell down first with all his burden upon the 
ground as though he were dead, and he would not 
rise neither with beating nor pricking, nor stand 
upon his feet, though they pulled him all about by 
the tail, by his legs, and by his ears ; which when the 
thieves beheld, as without all hope, they said one to 
another : " What, should we stand here so long about 
a dead or rather a stony ass ? Let us be gone " ; and 
so they took his burden and divided some to me and 
some to my horse. And then they drew their swords 
and cut through all his hamstrings, and dragged him 
a little from the way, and threw his body while he 

et breathed from the point of a hill down into a 
eat valley. Then I, considering with myself of the 

vil fortune of my poor companion, purposed now to 
rget all subtlety and deceit and to play the good ass 
to get my masters' favour, for I perceived by their 
talk that we were well nigh come home to our 
journey's end where they lived and had their 



ilia et habitatio. dementi deiiique transmisso clivulo, 
pervenimus ad locum destinatum, ubi rebus totis 
exsolutis atque intus conditis, iam pondere liberatus 
lassitudinem vice lavacri pulvereis volutatibus dige- 

6 Res ac tempus ipsum locorum speluncaeque illius 
quam latrones inhabitabant, 1 descriptionem exponere 
flagitat : nam et meum simul periclitabor ingenium, 
et faxo vos quoque an mente etiam sensuque fuerim 
asinus sedulo sentiatis. Monshorridus silvestribusque 
frondibus umbrosus et in primis altus fuit : huius per 
obliqua devexa, qua saxis asperrimis et ob id inaccessis 
cingitur,, convalles lacunosae cavaeque nimium spinetis 
aggeratae et quaquaversus repositae naturalem tute- 
lam praebentes ambiebant. De summo vertice fons 
afluens bullis ingentibus scaturribat, perque prona 
delapsus evomebat undas argenteas, iamque rivulis 
pluribus dispersus ac valles illas agminibus stagnanti- 
bus irrigans in modum stipati maris vel ignavi fluminis 
cuncta cohibebat. Insurgit speluncae, qua margines 
montanae desinunt, turris ardua caulae firma solidis 
cratibus, ovili stabulationi commoda, porrectis undi- 
que lateribus ; ante fores exigui tramites vice structi 
parietis attenduntur : ea tu bono, certe meo periculo, 
latronum dixeris atria. Nee iuxta quicquam quam 
parva casula cannulis temere contecta, quo specula- 
tores e numero latronum, ut postea comperi, sorte 
ducti noctibus excubabant. 

7 Ibi cum singuli derepsissent stipatis artubus, nobis 
ante ipsas fores loro valido destinatis, anum quandam 
curvatam gravi senio, cui soli salus atque tutela tot 
numero iuvenum commissa videbatur, sic infesti com- 
pellant : " Etiamne tu, busti cadaver extremum et 
i The MSS have the present inhabitant. The imperfect, 
as Oudendorp saw, seems to be required: 



dwelling. And after that we had passed over 
a little hill, we came to our appointed place, where 
when we were unladen of our burdens and all things 
carried in, I tumbled and wallowed in the dust to 
refresh myself instead of water. 

The thing and the time compel me to make 
description of the places and especially of the den 
where the thieves did inhabit : I will prove my wit 
what I can do, and then consider you whether I was 
an ass in judgement and sense, or no. First there 
was an exceeding great hill compassed about with big 
trees, very high, with many turning bottoms, sur- 
rounded by sharp rocks, whereby it was inaccessible ; 
there were many winding and hollow valleys en- 
vironed with thickets and thorns, and naturally 
fortressed round about. From the top of the hill ran 
a spring both leaping and bubbling which poured 
down the steep slope its silvery waves, and then 
scattering abroad into many little brooks watered all 
the valleys below, that it seemed like unto a sea 
enclosed, or a standing flood. Before the den, where 
was no more hill, stood a high tower, and at the foot 
thereof, and on either side, were sheep-cots fenced 
and wattled with clay ; before the gate of the house 
were walls enclosing a narrow path, in such sort that 
I well warrant you would judge it to be a very den for 
thieves, and there was nothing else near save a little 
cot covered roughly with thatch, wherein the thieves 
did nightly accustom to watch by order, as after I 

And when they were all crept crouching into the 
house, and we fast tied with strong halters at the 
door, they began to chide with an old woman there, 
crooked with age, who had the government and rule 
of all those young men, and said ; " How is it, old 



vitae dedecus primum et Orel fastidium solum, sic 
nobis otiosa domi residens lusitabis, nee nostris tarn 
magnis tamque periculosis laboribus solacium de tarn 
sera refectione tribues ? Quae diebus ac noctibus nil 
quicquam rei quam merum saevienti ventri tuo soles 
aviditer ingurgitare." Tremens ad haec et stridenti 
vocula pavida sic anus : " At vobis, fortissimi fide- 
lissimique mei hospitatores iuvenes, affatina cuncta 
suavi sapore percocta pulmenta praesto sunt, panis 
numerosus, yinum probe calicibus exfricatis affluenter 
immissum, et ex more calida tumultuario lavacro vestro 
praeparata." In fine sermonis huius statim sese de- 
vestiunt, nudatique et flammae largissimae vapore 
recreati calidaque perfusi et oleo peruncti mensas 
dapibus largiter instructas accumbunt. 
8 Commodum cubuerant, et ecce quidam longe plures 
numero iuvenes adveniunt alii, quos incunctanter 
adaeque latrones arbitrarere, nam et ipsi praedas 
aureorum argentariorumque nummorum ac vascu- 
lorum vestisque sericae et intextae filis aureis in- 
vehebant : hi simili lavacro refoti inter toros sociorum 
sese reponunt. Tune sorte ducti ministerium faciunt: 
estur ac potatur incondite pulmentis acervatim, pani- 
bus aggeratim, poculis agminatim ingestis ; clamore 
ludunt, strepitu cantillant, conviciis iocantur, ac iam 
cetera semiferis Lapithis evantibus l Centaurisque 
similia. Tune inter eos unus, qui robore ceteros 
antistabat, " Nos quidem" inquit "Milonis Hypa- 
tini domum fortiter expugnavimus. Praeter tantam 

1 Nic. Heinsius' ingenious emendation for the meaningless 
ebcinibus or tebainibus of the MSS, 



witch, old trot, that art the shame of life and 
rejected of very death, that thou sittest idly all day 
at home, and (having no regard to our perilous 
labours) hast provided nothing for our suppers thus 
late, but sittest doing nought but swilling wine into 
that greedy belly of thine from morning to night ? " 
Then the old woman trembled and began to say in 
a terrified and harsh voice : " Behold, my puissant 
and faithful masters, you shall have meat and pottage 
enough by and by, cooked with a sweet savour. 
Here is first store of bread, wine plenty, filled in 
clean rinsed pots, likewise hot water prepared to 
bathe you hastily after your wont." Which when 
she had said, they put off all their garments and 
refreshed themselves by a great fire, and after that 
they were washed with the hot water and anointed 
with oil, they sat down at the table garnished with 
all kinds of dainty meat. 

Now they were no sooner set 'down, but in came 
another company of young men, more in number 
than was before, whom you would judge at once 
likewise to be thieves ; for they also brought in their 
prey of gold and silver money, and plate, and robes 
both silken and gold-embroidered, and when they 
had likewise washed, they sat amongst the rest, and 
casting lots they served one another by order. The 
thieves drank and ate exceedingly,laying out the meat 
in heaps, the bread in mounds, and the wine cups like 
a marching army, crying, laughing, and making such 
noise, that I thought I was amongst the tyrannous 
and wild drunken Lapiths and Centaurs. At length 
one of them, more stout than the rest, spoke in 
this sort : " We verily have manfully conquered the 
house of Milo of Hypata, and besides all the riches 
and treasure which by force we have brought away, 


fortunae copiam, quam nostra virtute nacti sumus, et 
incolumi numero castra nostra petivimus et, si quid ad 
rem facit, octo pedibus auctiores remeavimus. At vos 
qui Boeotias urbes appetistis, ipso duce vestro fortis- 
simo Lamacho deminuti debilem numerum reduxistis, 
cuius salutem merito sarcinis istis quas advexistis 
omnibus antetulerim. Sed ilium quidem utcumque 
nimia virtus sua peremit ; inter inclitos reges ac duces 
proeliorum tanti viri memoria celebrabitur : enim vos 
bonae frugi latrones inter furta parva atque servilia 
timidule per balneas et aniles cellulas reptantes 
scrutariam facitis." 

Suscipit unus ex illo posteriore numero : " Tune 
solus ignoras longe faciliores ad expugnandum domus 
esse maiores ? Quippe quod, licet numerosa familia 
latis deversetur aedibus, tamen quisque magis suae 
saluti quam domini consulat opibus : frugi autem et 
solitarii homines fortunam parvam, vel certe satis 
amplam, dissimulanter obtectam protegunt acrius et 
sanguinis sui periculo muniunt. Res ipsa denique 
fidem sermoni meo dabit: vix enim Thebas heptapylos 
accessimuSj quod est huic disciplinae primarium 
studium, sedulo fortunas inquirebamus popularium. 
Nee nos denique latuit Chryseros quidam nummu- 
larius, copiosae pecuniae dominus, qui metu officiorum 
ac munerum publicorum magnis artibus magnam dissi- 
mulabat opulentiam : denique solus ac solitarius parva 
sed satis munita domuncula contentus, pannosus alio- 
quin ac sordidus aureos folles incubabat. 


we are all come home safe, none being lost, and are 
increased the more, if it be worthy of mention, by 
the eight feet of this horse and this ass. But you, 
that have roved about among the towns of Boeotia, 
have lost your valiant captain Lamachus, whose loss 
I more regarded than all this treasure which you 
have brought. But it is his own bravery that hath 
destroyed him, and therefore the memory of him 
shall be renewed for ever amongst the most noble 
kings and valiant captains ; but you accustom when 
you go abroad, like doughty robbers indeed, to creep 
through every corner and hole for every trifle, doing 
a paltry business in baths and the huts of aged 

Then one of them that came last answered : " Why, 
are you only ignorant, that the greater the house 
is, the sooner it may be robbed and spoiled? For 
though the family of servants be great and dispersed 
in divers lodgings, yet every man had rather defend 
his life than save at his own hazard the riches of his 
master ; but when the people be few and poor and 
live alone, then will they hide and protect very 
fiercely, even at the danger of their lives, their sub- 
stance, how little or great soever it be. And to the 
intent you will believe me, I will show you our story 
as an example. We were scarce come nigh unto 
seven-gated Thebes, and began at once to enquire of 
the fortunes of the greatest men thereof, which is 
the fountain of our art and science, and we learned 
at length where a rich chuff called Chryseros did 
dwell, who, for fear of offices and burdens in the public 
weal, with great pains dissimulated his estate and 
lived sole and solitary in a small cot (howbeit well 
fortified) and huddled daily in ragged and torn 
apparel over his bags of gold. Wherefore we devised 



placuit ad hunc primum ferremus aditum, ut con- 
tempta pugna manus unicae nullo negotio cunctis 

10 opibus otiose potiremur. Nee mora, cum noctis 
initio foribus ems praestolamur, quas neque sublevare 
neque dimovere ac ne perfringere quidem nobis vide- 
batur, ne vulvarum sonus cunctam viciniam nostro 
suscitaret exitio. Tune itaque sublimis ille vexil- 
larius noster Lamachus spectatae virtutis suae fiducia, 
qua clavi immittendae foramen patebat sensim im- 
missa manu, claustrum evellere gestiebat : sed dudum 
scilicet omnium bipedum nequissimus Chryseros 
vigilans et singula rerum sentiens, lenem gradum et 
obnixum silentium tolerans paulatim arrepit, gran- 
dique clavo manum ducis nostri repente nisu fortis- 
simo ad ostii tabulam offigit et exitiabili nexu 
patibulatum 1 relinquens gurgustioli sui tectum 
ascendit atque inde contentissima voce clamitans 
rogansque vicinos et unumquemque proprio nomine 
ciens et salutis communis admonens, diffamat in- 
cendio repentino domum suam possideri : sic unus- 
quisque proximi periculi confinio territus suppetiatum 

11 decurruntanxii. Tune nos in ancipiti periculo consti- 
tuti vel opprimendi nostri vel deserendi socii reme- 
dium e re nata validum eo volente comminiscimus : 
antesignani nostri partem, qua manus humerum 
subit, ictu per articulum medium temperate prorsus 
abscidimus atque ibi brachio relicto, multis laciniis 
dffulto vulnere, ne stillae sanguinis vestigium pro- 
derent. ceterum Lamachum raptim reportamus ; ac, 

1 MSS patibulum. The emendation is variously ascribed to 
Scaliger or Vulcaniug. 



With ourselves to go first to his house and spoil him 
of all his riches, which we thought we should easily 
do if we had but to fight against him alone. And at 
once when night came we quickly drew towards his 
door, which we thought best neither to move it, nor 
lift it out of the hinges, and we would not break it 
open lest by the noise we should raise up (to our 
harm) the neighbours by. Then our strong and 
valiant captain JLamachus, trusting his own strength 
and force, thrust in his hand through a hole of the 
door, which was made for the key, and thought to 
pull back the bolt ; but the covetous caitiff Chryseros, 
vilest of all that go on two feet, being awake and 
seeing all, but making no noise, came softly to the door 
and caught his hand, and with a great nail nailed it 
fast to a post of the gate, which when he had done, 
and had left him thus crucified, he ran up to 
a high chamber of his hovel, and in a very loud voice 
called every one of his neighbours by name, desiring 
them to look to their common safety with all possible 
speed, for his house was afire. Then every one, for 
fear of the danger that was nigh him, came running 
out to aid him ; wherewith we (fearing our present 
peril) knew not what was best to be done, whether 
we should leave our companion there, or yield our- 
selves to die with him ; but by his consent we devised 
a better way, for we cut through the joint of this our 
leader where the arm joins to the shoulder, and so 
let it hang there, and then bound up his wound 
with clouts lest we should be traced by the drops of 
blood, and so we took all that was left of Lamachus 
and led him away. v Now when we hurried along, 
trembling for our affection to him, and were so nigh 
pursued that we were in present danger, and 
Lumachus could not keep our company by reason 



dum trepidi religionis urguemur gravi tumultu et 
instantis periculi metu terremur ad fugam, nee vel 
sequi propere vel remanere tuto potest vir sublimis 
animi virtutisque praecipuus, multis nos affatibus 
multisque precibus querens adhortatur per dexteram 
Martis, per fidem sacramenti bonum commilitonem 
cruciatu simul et captivitate liberaremus : cur enim 
manui, quae rapere et iugulare sola posset, fortem 
latronem supervivere ? Sat se beatum qui manu 
socia volens occumberet. Cumque nulli nostrum 
spontale parricidium suadens persuadere posset, 
manu reliqua sumptum gladium suum diuque de- 
osculatum, per medium pectus ictu fortissimo trans- 
adigit. Tune nos magnanimi ducis vigore venerato 
corpus reliquum veste lintea diligenter convolutum 
mari celandum commisimus, et nunc iacet noster 
Lamachus elemento toto sepultus. 

12 "Et ille quidem dignum virtutibus suis vitae teiv 
minum posuit : enimvero Alcimus sollertibus coeptis 
minus 1 saevum Fortunae nutum non potuit adducere. 
Qui cum dormientis anus perfracto tuguriolo conscen- 
disset cubiculum superius iamque protinus oblisis 
faucibus interstinguere earn debuisset, prius maluit 
rerum singula per latiorem fenestram forinsecus nobis 
scilicet rapienda dispergere. Cumque iam cuncta 
rerum naviter emolitus nee toro quidem aniculae 
quiescentis parcere vellet, eaque lectulo suo devo- 
luta vestem stragulam subductam scilicet iactare 
similiter destinaret, genibus eius profusa sic nequis- 
sima ilia deprecatur : 'Quid, oro, fill, paupertinas 
pannosasque resculas miserrimae anus donas vicinis 

i MSS eum. Minut is Bluemner's suggestion. 


of faintness (and on the other side it was not for his 
profit to linger behind) he spoke unto us as a man 
of singular courage and virtue, desiring us by much 
entreaty and prayer, and by the puissance of the god 
Mars and the faith of our confederacy, to deliver our 
brave comrade from torment and miserable captivity : 
and further he asked how was it possible that so 
courageous a captain could live without his hand, 
wherewith alone he could rob and slay so many 
people, but he would rather think himself sufficiently 
happy if he might be slain by the hand of a friend. 
But when he saw that we all refused to commit any 
such wicked deed he drew out his sword with his 
other hand, and after that he had often kissed it, he 
thrust it with a strong blow clean through his body. 
Then we honoured the corpse of so puissant a man, 
and wrapped it in linen clothes and threw it into the 
sea to hide it : so lieth our master Latnachus buried 
and hid in the grave of water. 

" Now he ended his life worthily of his courage, as 
I have declared ; but Alcimus, though he were a man 
of great enterprise, yet could he not void himself from 
evil fortune : for on a day when he had entered into 
an old woman's hut that slept, to rob her, he went up 
into the higher chamber, where he should first have 
strangled her, but he had more regard to throw down 
everything out of the window to us that stood under : 
and when he had cleverly despoiled all, he would 
leave nothing behind, but went to the old woman's 
bed where she lay asleep and threw her from it, and 
would have taken off the coverlet to have thrown 
down likewise, but the old hag awaked and fell at his 
knees, and desired him in this manner : ' O sir, I pray 
you, cast not away such torn and ragged clouts into 
my neighbours' houses, whither this window looks ; 

L 101 

divitibus, quorum haec fenestra domum prospicit?' 
Quo sermone callido deceptus astu, et vera quae 
dicta sunt credens Alcimus, verens scilicet ne et ea, 
quae prius miserat quaeque postea missurus foret, non 
sociis suis sed in alienos Lares iam certus erroris 
abiceret, suspendit se fenestra sagaciter perspecturus 
omnia, praesertim domus attiguae, ut dixerat ilia, 
fortunas arbitraturus. Quod eum strenue quidem 
sed satis improvide conantem senile illud facinus 
quamquam invalido, repentino tamen et inopinato 
pulsu, nutantem ac pendulum et in prospectu alio- 
quin attonitum praeceps inegit ; qui praeter altitu- 
dinem nimiam super quendam etiam vastissimum 
lapidem propter iacentem reddens, perfracta diffis- 
saque crate costarum rivos sanguinis vomens imitus, 
narratisque nobis quae gesta sunt, non diu cruciatus 
vitam evasit : quern prioris exemplo sepulturae tra- 
ditum bonum secutorem Lamacho dedimus. 
13 "Tune orbitatis duplici plaga petiti, iamque The- 
banis conatibus abnuentes, Plataeas proximam con- 
scendimus civitatem. Ibi famam celebrem super 
quodam Demochare munus edituro gladiatorium de- 
prehendimus : nam vir et genere primarius et opibus 
plurimus et liberalitate praecipuus digno fortunae 
suae splendore publicas voluptates instruebat. Quis 
tantus ingenii, quis facundiae, qui singulas species 
apparatus multiiugi verbis idoneis posset explicare ? 
Gladiatores isti famosae manus, venatores illi pro- 
batae pernicitatis, alibi noxii perdita securitate suis 

for they are rich enough and need no such things.* 
Then Alcimus (thinking her words to be true) was 
brought in belief that such things as he had thrown 
out already, and such things as he should throw out 
after, were not fallen down to his fellows, but into 
other men's houses ; wherefore he went to the window 
to see, and especially to behold the places round 
about, as she had told him, thrusting his body out of 
the window ; but while he strove to do this, strongly 
indeed but somewhat rashly, the old trot marked him 
well, and came behind him softly, and although she 
had but small strength, yet with a sudden force she 
took him by the heels and thrust him out headlong 
while his body was balancing and unsure ; and beside 
that the height was very great, he fell upon a mar- 
vellous great stone that lay near and burst his ribs, 
whereby he vomited and spewed flakes of blood, and 
when he had told us all, he suffered not long torment, 
but pi'esently died. Then we gave unto him the same 
burial and sent him a worthy comrade to Lamachus, 
as we had done before. 

" When we had thus lost two of our companions, 
we liked not Thebes, but marched towards the next 
city called Plataea, where we found great fame con- 
cerning a man named Demochares that purposed to 
set forth a great game, where should be a trial of all 
kinds of weapons : he was come of a good house, 
marvellous rich, liberal, and well deserved that which 
he had, and had prepared many shews and pleasures 
for the common people : in so much that there is no 
man can either by wit or eloquence shew in fit words 
all the manifold shapes of his preparations, for first 
he had provided gladiators of a famous band, then all 
manner of hunters most fleet of foot, then guilty 
men without hope of reprieve who were judged for 



epulis bestiarum saginas instruentes ; confixilis ma* 
chinae sublicae, turres tabularum nexibus ad instar 
circumforaneae domus, floridae picturae, decora fu- 
turae venationis receptacula. Qui praeterea numerus, 
quae facies ferarum ! Nam praecipuo studio forin- 
secus etiam advexerat generosa ilia damnatorum capi- 
tum funera. Sed praeter ceteram speciosi muneris 
supellectilem totis utcumque patrimonii viribus im- 
manis ursae comparabat numerum copiosum : nam 
praeter domesticis venationibus captas, praeter largis 
emptionibus partas, amicorum etiam donationibus 
variis certatim oblatas tutela sumptuosa sollicite 
14 nutriebat. Nee ille tarn clarus tamque splendidus 
publicae voluptatis apparatus invidiae noxios effugit 
oculos : nam diutina captivitate fatigatae simul et 
aestiva flagrantia maceratae, pigra etiam sessione 
languidae, repentina correptae pestilentia paene ad 
nullum redivere numerum. Passim per plateas pluri- 
mas cerneres iacere semivivorum corporum ferina 
naufragia : tune vulgus ignobile, quos inculta pau- 
peries sine delectu ciborum tenuato ventri cogit 
sordentia supplementa et dapes gratuitas conquirere, 
passim iacentes epulas accurrunt. 

" Tune e re nata subtile consilium ego et iste Babu- 

lus tale commmiscimur : unam, quae cetens sarcina 

corporis praevalebat, quasi cibo parandam portamus 
ad nostrum receptaculum eiusque probe nudatum 
carnibus corium, servatis sollerter totis unguibus, 
ipso etiam bestiae capita adusque connnium cervicis 


their punishment to be food for wild beasts. He had 
ordained a machine made of beams fixed together, 
great towers and platforms like a house to move 
hither and thither, very well painted, to be places to 
contain all the quarry : he had ready a great number 
of wild beasts and all sorts of them, especially he 
had brought from abroad those noble creatures that 
were soon to be the death of so many condemned 
persons. But amongst so great preparations of noble 
price, he bestowed the most part of his patrimony in 
buying of a vast multitude of great bears, which 
either by chasing he had caught himself, or which he 
dearly bought or which were given him by divers of 
his friends, who strove one with another in making 
him such gifts : and all these he kept and nourished 
to his very great cost. Howbeit for all his care of 
the public pleasure, he could not be free from the 
malicious eyes of envy : for some of them were well 
nigh dead, with too long tying up ; some meagre 
with the broiling heat of the sun; some languished 
with long lying, but all (having sundry diseases) were 
so afflicted that they died one after another, and there 
were well nigh none left, in such sort that you 
might see their wrecks piteously lying in the streets 
and all but dead : and then the common people, 
having no other meat to feed on, and forced by their 
rude poverty to find any new meat and cheap feasts, 
would come forth and fill their bellies with the flesh 
of the bears. 

" Then by and by Babulus and I devised a pretty 
sport to suit this case ; we drew to our lodging one 
of the bears that was greater of bulk than all the rest, 
as though we would prepare to eat thereof, where 
we flayed off his skin and kept his claws whole, but 
we meddled not with the head, but cut it off by the 



solido relicto, tergus omne rasura studiosa tenuamus 
et minuto cinere perspersum soli siccandum tradimus. 
Ac dum caelestis vaporis flammis examurgatur, nos 
interdum pulpis eius valenter saginantes, sic instanti 
militiae disponimus sacramentum, ut unus e numero 
nostro, non qui corporis adeo sed animi robore ceteris 
antistaret, atque is in primis voluntarius, pelle ilia 
contectus ursae subiret effigiem, domumque Demo- 
charis illatus per opportuna noctis silentia nobis 

J 5 ianuae faciles praestaret aditus. Nee paucos fortissimi 
collegii sellers species ad munus obeundum arrexerat : 
quorum prae ceteris Thrasyleon factionis optione 
delectus ancipitis machinae subivit aleam, iamque 
habili corio et mollitie tractabili vultu sereno sese 
recondit. Tune tenui sarcimine summas oras eius 
adaequamus, et iuncturae rimam, licet gracilem, saetae 
circumfluentis densitate saepimus ; ad ipsum con- 
finium gulae, qua cervix bestiae fuerat exsecta, 
Thrasyleoiiis caput subire cogimus, parvisque re- 
spiratui circa nares et oculos datis foraminibus, for- 
tissimum socium nostrum, prorsus bestiam factum, 
inmittimus caveae modico praestinatae pretio, quam 
constanti vigore festinus irrepsit ipse. 

"Ad hunc modum prioribus inchoatis, sic ad 

16 reliqua fallaciae pergimus : sciscitati nomen cuiusdam 
Nicanoris qui genere Thracio proditus ius amicitiae 
stimmum cum illo Demochare colebat, litteras 
affingimus, ut venationis suae primitias bonus amicus 


neck, and so let it hang to the skin. Then we razed 
oft' the flesh from the back, and cast dust thereon, 
and set it in the sun to dry : and while it was drying 
by the heat of the heavenly fire, we made merry 
with the flesh, and then we devised with ourselves 
with an oath that one of us, being more valiant than 
the rest, not so much in body as in courage (so that 
he would straightway consent thereto) should put on 
the skin, and feigning that he were a bear, should be 
led to Demochares' house in the night, by which 
means we thought to be received and easily let in. 
Many of our brave brotherhood were desirous to play 
the bear in this subtle sleight, but especially one 
Thrasyleon of a courageous mind was chosen by all 
our band to take the risk of this enterprise. Then 
we put him, very calm in mind and face, into the 
bear's skin, which was soft and fitted him finely in 
every point ; we buckled fast the edges thereof with 
fine stitching, and covered the same, though small, 
with the thick hair growing about it that it might not 
be seen : we thrust his head into the opening ot 
the bear's throat where his neck had been cut out, 
and after this we made little holes through his 
nostrils and eyes for Thrasyleon to see out and take 
wind at, in such sort that he seemed a very lively 
and natural beast : when this was done, we brought 
him into a cage which we hired with a little money 
for the purpose, and he crept nimbly in after like a 
bear with a good courage. 

11 Thus we began our subtlety, and then we 
agined thus : we feigned letters as though they 
came from one Nicanor which dwelt in the country 
of Thrace, which was of great acquaintance with 
this Demochares, wherein we wrote that he had 
sent him, being his friend, the first-fruits of his 



videretur ornando muneri dedicasse. lamque pro- 
vecta vespera, abusi praesidio tenebi-arum, Thrasy- 
leonis caveam Demochari cum litteris lllis adulterinis 
offerimus, qui miratus bestiae magnitudinem suique 
contubernalis opportuna liberalitate laetatus iubet 
nobis protinus gaudii sui gerulis decem aureos, ut 
ipse habebat, e suis loculis adnumerari. Tune ut 
novitas consuevit ad repentinas visiones aniraos 
hominum pellere, multi numero mirabundi bestiam 
confluebant, quorum satis callenter curiosos aspeetus 
Thrasyleon noster impetu minaci frequenter in- 
hibebat ; consonaque civium voce satis felix ac 
beatus Demochares ille saepe celebratus, quod 
post tantam cladem ferarum novo proventu quo- 
quo modo fortunae resisteret, iubet novalibus 
suis confestim bestiam summa cum diligentia de- 
1 7 portari ; sed suscipiens ego ' Caveas/ inquam 
' Domine, flagrantia solis et itineris spatio fatigatam 
coetui multarum et, ut audio, non recte valentium 
committere ferarum. Quin potius domus tuae patu- 
lum ac perflabilem locum, immo et lacu aliquo con- 
terminum refrigerantemque prospicis ? An ignoras 
hoc genus bestiae lucos consitos et specus roridos et 
fontes amoenos semper incubare ? ' Talibus mon- 
itis Demochares perterritus numerumque perditorum 
secum recensens, non difficulter assensus, ut ex ar- 
bitrio nostro caveam locaremus facile permisit. ' Sed 
et nos ' inquam * Ipsi parati sumus hie ibidem pro 



coursing and hunting. When night was come, we 
took cover of the darkness, and brought Thrasyleon's 
cage and our forged letters, and presented them to 
Demochares. When Demochares wonderingly beheld 
this mighty bear, and saw the timely liberality of 
Nicanor his friend, he was glad, and commanded his 
servant to deliver unto us that brought him this joy 
ten gold crowns, as he had great store in his coflers : 
then (as the novelty of a thing doth accustom to stir 
men's minds to behold the same) many persons came 
on every side to see this bear, but Thrasyleon (lest 
they should by curious viewing and prying perceive 
the truth) ran often upon them to put them in fear, 
so that they durst not come nigh. Then the people 
said with one voice : ' Verily Demochares is right 
happy, in that, after the death of so many beasts, he 
hath gotten, in spite of fortune, so goodly a bear to 
supply him afresh.' He commanded that with great 
care his servants should put him into the park close 
by, but I immediately spoke unto him and said: 
' Sir, I pray you, take heed how you put a beast 
tired with the heat of the sun and with long travel 
amongst others which (as I hear say) have divers 
maladies and diseases ; let him rather lie in some 
open place of your house, where the breeze blows 
through, yea nigh to some water, where he 
may take air and ease himself, for do not you 
know that such kind of beasts do greatly delight 
to couch under shadow of trees and dewy caves, nigh 
unto pleasant wells and waters?' . Hereby Demo- 
chares, admonished and remembering how many he 
had before that perished, was contented that we 
should put the bear's cage where we would. More- 
over we said unto him : ' We ourselves are determined 
to lie all night nigh unto the bear, to look unto him, 



cavea ista excubare noctes, ut aestus et vexationis 
incommode bestiae fatigatae et cibum tempestivum 
et potum solitum accuratius offeramus.' ' Nihil in- 
digemus labore isto vestro ; ' respondit ille ' lam paene 
tola familia per diutinam consuetudinem nutriendis 
ursis exercitata est.' 

18 Post haec valefacto discessimus et portam civitatis 
egressi monumentum quoddam conspicamur procul a 
via remote et abdito loco positum. Ibi capulos carie 
et vetustate semitectos, quis inhabitabant pulverei et 
iam cinerosi mortui, passim ad futurae praedae 
receptacula reseramus et, ex disciplina sectae servato 
noctis inlunio tempore, quo somnus obvius impetti 
primo corda mortalium validius invadit ac premit, 
cohortem nostram gladiis armatam ante ipsas fores 
Democharis velut expilationis vadimonium sistimus. 
Nee setius Thrasyleon, examussim capto noctis latro- 
cinali momento, prorepit cavea statimque custodes, 
qui propter sopiti quiescebant omnes ad unum, mox 
etiam ianitorem ipsum gladio conficit, clavique sub- 
tracta fores ianuae repandit nobisque prompte convo- 
lantibus et domus alveo receptis demonstrat horreum, 
ubi vespera sagaciter argentum copiosum recondi 
viderat. Quo protinus perfracto confertae manus 
violentia, iubeo singulos commilitonum asportare 
quantum quisque poterat auri vel argenti, et in illis 
aedibus fidelissimorum mortuorum occultare propere 
rursumque concito gradu recurrentes sarcinas iterare : 
quod enim ex usu foret omnium, me sohun resis- 


which is tired with the heat and his long journey, 
and to give him meat and drink at his due hour.' 
Then he answered : ( Verily, masters, you need not 
to put yourselves to such pains : for I have men, 
yea, almost all my family of servants, that serve for 
nothing but for this purpose of tending bears.' 

" Then we took leave of him and departed, and 
when we were come without the gates of the town 
we perceived before us a great sepulchre standing 
out of the highway, in a privy and secret place. And 
thither we went and opened there certain coffins, half 
rotted with age, wherein we found the corruption of 
man, and the ashes and dust of his long-buried body, 
which should serve to hold the prey we were very 
soon to get : and then, according to the custom of 
our band, having a respect to the dark and moonless 
time of the night when we thought that every man 
was sunk in his first and strongest sleep, we went 
with our weapons and besieged the doors of Demo- 
chares round about, in earnest that we were soon to 
plunder the same. Then Thrasyleon was ready at 
hand, seizing upon that time of night which is for 
robbers most fit, and crept out of the cage and went 
to kill all such of his guards as he found asleep ; but 
when he came to the porter he slew him also and 
took the key and opened the gates and let us all in : 
and he shewed us now in the midst of the house a 
large counter, wherein looking sharply he saw put 
the night before a great abundance of treasure : 
which when by violence of us all we had broken 
open, I bade every one of my fellows take as much 
gold and silver as they could quickly bear away, and 
carry it to the sepulchre, and there quickly hide it 
in the house of those dead who were to us most 
faithful allies, and then come soon back to take another 



tentem pro domus limine cuncta rerum exploraturum 
sollicite dum redirent ; nam et fades ursae mediis 
aedibus discurrentis ad proterrendos, si qui de familia 
forte evigilassent, videbatur opportuna. Quis enim, 
quamuis fortis et intrepidus, immani forma tantae 
bestiae noctu praesertim visitata,, non se ad fugam 
statim concitaret, non obdito cellae pessulo pavens et 
trepidus sese cohiberet ? 

19 "'His omnibus salubri consilio recte dispositis 
occurrit scaevus eventus : namque dum reduces 
socios nostros suspensus opperior, quidam servulus, 
strepitu scilicet divinitus inquietus, proserpit leniter 
visaque bestia, quae libere discurrens totis aedibus 
commeabat, premens obnixum silentium vestigium 
suum replicat et utcumque cunctis in domo visa pro- 
nuntiat. Nee mora, cum numerosae familiae fre- 
quentia domus tota completur : taedis, lucernis, 
cereis, sebaciis, et ceteris nocturni luminis instru- 
mentis clarescunt tenebrae ; nee inermis quisquam 
de tanta copia processit, sed singuli fustibus, lanceis, 
destrictis denique gladiis armati muniunt aditus. 
Nee secus canes etiam venaticos, auritos illos et 
horricomes ad comprimendam bestiam cohortantur. 

20 " Tune ego, sensim gliscente adhuc illo tumultu, 
retrogradi fuga domo facesso sed plane Thrasyleo- 
nem mire canibus repugnantem, latens pone ianuam 
ipse, prospicio: quamquam enirn vitae metas ulti- 
mas obiret, non tamen sui nostrique vel pristinae 
virtutis oblitus iam faucibus ipsis hiantis Cerberi re- 
luctabat : scaenam denique quam sponte sumpserat 
cum anima retinens, nunc fugiens, nunc resistens, 



burden ; but I, for our common weal, would stand 
alone at the gate watching diligently when they 
would return, and the bear running about the house 
would make such of the family afraid as fortuned to 
wake and come out : for who is he that is so puissant 
and courageous, that at the sight of so great a monster 
would not quail and flee away and keep his chamber 
well barred, especially in the night ? 

" Now when we had brought this matter to so 
good a point, there chanced a pitiful case ; for as I 
looked for my companions that should come from 
the sepulchre, behold there was . a boy of the 
house that fortuned to be awaked by the noise, as 
fate would have it, and look out of a window and 
espy the bear running freely about the house, and 
he went back on his steps a-tiptoe and very secretly, 
and told all the servants, and at once the house was 
filled with the whole train of them. Incontinently 
they came forth with torches, lanterns, candles and 
tapers, and other lights, that they might see all the 
yard over ; they came not unarmed, but with clubs, 
spears, and naked swords, to guard the entrances, and 
they set on greyhounds and mastiffs, even those with 
great ears and shaggy hair, to subdue the poor beast. 
Then I, during this broil, thought to run away, but 
because I would see Thrasyleon fighting wonderfully 
with the dogs, 1 lay behind the gate to behold him. 
And although I might perceive that he was at the 
very term or limit of fife, yet remembered he his 
own faithfulness and ours, and valiantly resisted the 
gaping and ravenous mouths of the hound of Hell : 
for he took well to play the part which he so will- 
ingly had taken in hand himself, and with much 
ado, so long as the breath was in him, now flying 
and now pursuing, with many twistings and turnings 



Variis corporis sui schemis ac motibus tandem domo 
prolapsus est. Nee tamen, quamvis publica potitus 
libertate, salutem fuga quaerere potuit, quippe cuncti 
canes de proximo angiportu satis feri satisque copiosi 
venaticis illis, qui commodum domo similiter inse- 
quentes processerant, se obmiscent agminatim. 
Miserum funestumque spectamen aspexi, Thrasy- 
leonem nostrum catervis canum saevientium cine turn 
atque obsessum multisque numero morsibus lania- 
tum. Denique tanti doloris impatiens populi circum- 
fluentis turbelis immisceor, et in quo solo poteram 
celatum auxilium bono ferre commilitoni, sic in- 
daginis principes dehortabar : 'O grande ' inquam 
' Et extremum flagitium, magnam et vere pretiosam 
21'perdimus bestiam.' Nee tamen nostri sermonis artes 
infelicissimo profuerunt iuveni, quippe quidam pro- 
currens e domo procerus et validus incunctanter lan- 
ceam mediis iniecit ursae praecordiis nee secus alius, 
et ecce plurimi iam timore discusso certatim gladios 
etiam de proximo congerunt : enimvero Thrasyleon, 
egregium decus nostrae factionis, tandem immor- 
talitate digno illo spiritu expugnato, magis quam 
patientia neque clamore ac ne ululatu quid em 
fidem sacramenti prodidit, sed iam morsibus 
laceratus ferroque laniatus, obnixo mugitu et ferino 
fremitu praesentem casum generoso vigore tolerans 
gloriam sibi jeservavit, vitam fato reddidit. Tanto 
tamen terrore tantaque formidine coetum ilium tur- 
baverat, ut usque diluculum, immo et in multum diem 
nemo quisquam fuerit ausus quamvis iacentem bes- 
tiam vel digito contingere, nisi tandem pigre ac 
timide quidam lanius paulo fidentior, utero bestiae 


of his body, tumbled at length out of the house ; 
but when he was come to liberty abroad, yet could 
he not save himself by flight, for all the dogs of the 
street (which were fierce and many) joined them- 
selves to the greyhounds and mastiffs that had just 
come out of the house, to chase him like a great 
host : alas, what a pitiful sight it was when our poor 
Thrasyleon was thus environed and compassed with 
so many furious dogs that tore and rent him miser- 
ably ! Then I, impatient of so great his misery, ran 
in amongst the press of the people, and aiding my 
comrade secretly with my words (for no more could 
I do) exhorted all the leaders of this chase in this 
manner : ' O great extreme mischance, what a pre- 
cious and excellent beast do we lose ! ' but my 
words did nothing prevail to help the poor wretch. 
For there came running out a tall man with a spear 
in his hand, that thrust him clean through, and 
afterwards many that stood by, released of their 
fear, drew out their swords, and so they killed him. 
But verily our brave captain Thrasyleon, the great 
honour of our band, when his life, that was 
worthy never to die, was utterly overcome, but not 
his fortitude, would not bewray the league between 
us, either by crying, howling, or any other means, 
but (being torn with dogs, and wounded with 
weapons) did still send forth a bellowing cry more 
lake that of a beast than of a man : and taking his 
present fortune in good part, with courage and glory 
enough did finish his life with such a terror unto 
the assembly, that no person was so hardy (until it 
was morn, nay, until it was high day) as to touch 
him, though he were a beast stark dead : but at last 
there came a butcher more valiant than the rest, 
who (opening the paunch of the beast) slit off the 



*esecto, ursae magnificum despoliavit latronem. Sic 
etiam Thrasyleon nobis perivit sed a gloria non peri- 
vit. Confestim itaque constrictis sarcinis illis, quas 
nobis servaverant fideles mortui, Plataeae terminos 
concito gradu deserentes, istud apud nostros animos 
identidem reputabamus, merito nullam fidem in vita 
nostra repperiri, quod ad manes iam et mortuos odio 
perfidiae nostrae demigrarit. Sic onere vecturae 
simul et asperitate l viae toti fatigati, tribus comitum 
desideratis, istas quas videtis praedas adveximus." 
2 2 Post istum sermonis terminum poculis aureis memo- 
riae defunctorum commilitonum vino mero libant, 
dehinc canticis quibusdam Marti deo blanditi paulu- 
lum conquiescunt. Enim nobis anus ilia recens hor- 
deum affatim et sine ulla mensura largita est, ut 
equus quidem meus tanta copia et quidem solus 
potitus saliares se cenasse cenas 2 crederet : ego vero, 
qui numquam alias hordeum cibatus ni minutatum 
et diutina coquitatione iurulentum semper eserim, 3 
rimatus angulum quo panes reliquiae totius multi- 
tudinis congestae fuerant, fauces diutina fame saucias 
et araneantes valenter exerceo. Et ecce nocte pro- 
niota latrones expergiti castra commovent instruc- 
tique varie, partim gladiis armati, partim 4 in 
Lemures reformat!, concito se gradu proripiunt. 
Nee me tam.en instanter ac fortiter manducantem 

'i Vulcanius' emendation for the MSS' aspefe. 

2 Luetjohann's emendation, slightly changed by van di 
Vliet. The best MS has salies secenas, with a lacuna of abc 
five letters after the last word. 

3 The whole of this passage is very corrupt m the M B. - 



skin from the hardy and venturous thief. In this 
manner there was lost to us also our captain Thrasy- 
leon, but there was not lost to him his fame and 
honour. When all this was done, we packed up our 
treasure which the faithful dead in the sepulchre 
had kept for us, and we got us out of the bounds of 
Plataea, thinking always with ourselves that there 
was no fidelity to be found amongst the living ; and 
no wonder, for that it hath passed over to the ghosts 
and the dead in hatred of our deceitfulness. And 
so, being wearied with the weight of our burdens, 
and very tired with our rough travel, having thus 
lost three of our soldiers, we are come home with 
this present prey that you see." 

Thus when they had spoken and poured libation 
of pure wine from cups of gold in memory of their 
slain companions, they sung hymns to the god Mars 
to pacify him withal, and laid them down to sleep. 
Then the old woman gave us fresh barley in plenty 
without measure, in so much that my horse, the only 
lord of all that abundance, might well think he was 
at some priestly banquet that day. But I, that was 
accustomed to eat flour finely milled and long cooked 
with broth, thought that but a sour kind of meat ; 
wherefore espying a corner where lay the loaves of 
bread left by all the band, I got me thither, and 
used upon them my jaws which ached with long 
famine and seemed to be full of cobwebs. Now when 
the night was come the thieves awaked and rose up : 
and when they had buckled on their weapons and 

text as printed gives the sense required, by supplying qui 
and ni. 

* This partim is not in the MSS, and was supplied by 
Elmenhorst ; but an m after arrnati seems to show that it was 
once there and had dropped out. 

M 177 


vel somnus imminens impedire potuit ; et quam- 
quam prius, cum essem Lucius, unico vel se- 
cundo pane contentus mensa decederem, tune 
ventri tarn profundo serviens iam ferme tertium 
qualum rumigabam. Huic me operi attonitum 
23 clara lux oppressit : tandem itaque asinali verecundia 
ductus, aegerrime tamen digrediens rivulo proximo 
sitim lenio. Nee mora, cum latrones ultro anxii 
atque solliciti remeant, nullam quidem prorsus 
sarcinam vel omnino, licet vilem, laciniam ferentes 
sed tantum gladiis totis, 1 totis manibus, immo 
factionis suae cunctis viribus unicam virginem filo 
liberalem et, ut matronatus eius indicabat, sum- 
matem regionis, puellam mehercules et asino tali 
concupiscendam, maerentem et crines cum veste 
sua lacerantem advehebant. Earn simul intrantes 2 
speluncam verbisque quae dolebat minora facientes 
sic alloquuntur : " Tu quidem salutis et pudicitiae 
secura brevem patientiam nostro compendio tribue, 
quos ad istam sectam paupertatis necessitas adegit. 
Parentes autem tui de tanto suarum divitiarum 
cumulo, quamquam satis cupidi, tamen sine mora 
parabunt scilicet idoneam sui sanguinis redemp- 

24 His et his similibus blateratis nequicquam dolor 
sedatur puellae. Quidni, quae inter genua sua 
deposito capite sine modo flebat ? At illi intro- 

1 The first totis is not in the MSS. It was Lofstedt'* sugges- 
tion to supply it after gladiis. 

2 Bursian's correction of the MSS' intra. 


disguised their faces with vizors, like unto spectres, 
they departed, and yet for all the great sleep that 
came upon me, I could in no wise leave eating, and 
whereas, when I was a man, I could be contented 
with one or two loaves at the most, now my guts 
were so greedy that three panniers full would scarcely 
serve me ; and while I laboured at this business, the 
morning came, and being moved by even an ass's 
shamefastness, I left my food at last (though well I 
liked it) and at a stream hard by I quenched my 
thirst. And suddenly after, the thieves returned 
home careful and heavy, bringing no burdens with 
them, no not so much as one poor cloke, but with 
all their swords and strength, yea even with the 
might of their whole band, only a maiden that 
seemed by her habit to be some gentlewoman born, 
and the daughter of some noble of that country, 
who was so fair and beautiful, that though I were an 
ass, yet I swear that I had a great affection to her. 
The virgin lamented and tore her hair, and spoiled 
her garments for the great sorrow she was in, but 
the thieves brought her within the cave, and essayed 
to comfort her in this sort : " Weep not, fair gentle- 
woman, we pray you, for be you assured that we will 
do no outrage or violence to your person, but take 
patience awhile for our profit ; for necessity and 
poor estate hath compelled us to this enterprise : we 
warrant you that your parents (although they be 
covetous) from their great store will be contented 
to give us money enough to redeem and ransom 
you, that are their own blood, from our hands." 

With such flattering words they endeavoured to 
appease the gentlewoman : howbeit she would in no 
case be comforted, but put her head between her 
knees and cried piteously. Then they called the old 



vocatae anui praecipiunt assidens earn blando quan- 
tum posset solaretur alloquio, seque ad sectae sueta 
conferunt. Nee tamen puella quivit ullis aniculae 
sermonibus ab inceptis fletibus avocari, sed altius 
eiulans sese et assiduis singultibus ilia quatiens mihi 
etiam lacrimas excussit, ac sic "An ego" inquit 
" Misera, tali domo, tanta familia, tarn caris vernulis, 
tarn sanctis parentibus desolata et infelicis rapinae 
praeda et mancipium effecta, inque isto saxeo carcere 
serviliter clausa et omnibus deliciis, quis innata atque 
innutrita sum, privata, sub incerto salutis et carnifi- 
cinae laniena, inter tot ac tales latrones et horrendum 
gladiatorum populum, vel fletum desinere vel omnino 
vivere potero ? " Lamentata sic, et animi dolore et 
faucium tundore et corporis lassitudine iam fatigata, 
2"> marcentes oculos demisit ad soporem ; at commodum 
conniverat nee diu, cum repente lymphatico ritu 
somno recussa est 1 longeque vehementius afflictare 
sese et pectus etiam palmis infestis tundere et 
faciem illam luculentam verberare incipit, et aniculae 
quamquam instantissime causas novi et instaurati 
maeroris requirenti sic assuspirans altius infit : " Em 
nunc certe,, nunc maxime funditus perii, nunc spei 
salutiferae renuntiavi : laqueus aut gladius aut certe 
praecipitium procul dubio capessendum est." Ad 
haec anus iratior dicere earn saeviore iam vultu 
iubebat quid malum 2 fleret vel quid repente post- 
liminio pressae quietis lamentationes licentiosas 

1 Something seems to be lost in the MSS after recussa. 
Luetjohann's est is the simplest insertion. 

2 It is quite possibly right to put commas before and after 
malum, and to translate: "Why was she weeping, the 
plaguey thing?" 



woman and commanded her to sit by the maiden, 
and pacify her dolour as much as she might. And 
they departed away to rob, as they accustomed to do, 
but the virgin would not assuage her griefs nor 
mitigate her sorrow by any entreaty of the old 
woman, but howled and sobbed, shaking her bosom 
with her sighs, in such sort that she made me (poor 
ass) likewise to weep, and thus she said : ee Alas ! can 
I, poor wretch, that am come of so good a house, 
being now forsaken of all my dear parents, my many 
friends and great house and family, made a rapine 
and prey, closed servilely in this stony prison, de- 
prived of all the pleasures wherein I have been 
brought up, thrown in danger, ready to be rent in 
pieces amongst so many sturdy thieves and dreadful 
robbers, can I (I say) cease from weeping or live any 
longer ? " Thus she cried and lamented, and after 
she had wearied herself with sorrow and beating of 
her breast, she closed the windows of her hollow eyes 
to sleep : but scarce had she slept, but she rose again, 
like a furious and mad woman, and did afflict herself 
more violently than before, and beat her breast and 
comely face with her cruel hands. Then the old 
woman enquired the cause of her new and sudden 
lamentation, to whom (sighing in pitiful sort) she 
answered : " Alas ! now I am utterly undone, now I 
am out of all hope. O, give me a knife to kill me or 
a halter to hang me, or a precipice that I may throw 
me down therefrom" : whereat the old woman was 
lore angry, and severely commanded her to tell her 
cause of her sorrow, and why after her sleep she 
should renew her dolour and miserable weeping. 



refricaret: "Nimirum" inquit " Tanto compendio 
tuae redemptionis defraudare iuvenes meos destinas : 
quod si pergis ulterius, iam faxo lacrimis istis, quas 
parvi pendere latrones consueruiit, insuper habitis 
viva exurare." 

26 Tali puella sermone deterrita,, manuque ems ex- 
osculata, " Farce " inquit "Mi parens, et durissimo 
casui meo, pietatis humanae memor, subsiste paululum ; 
nee enim, ut reor, aevo longiore maturatae tibi in ista 
sancta canitie miseratio prorsus exaruit. Specta deni- 
que scaenam meae calamitatis : speciosus adulescens 
inter suos principals, quern nlium publicum omnis 
sibi civitas cooptavit,, meus alioquin consobrintis, tan- 
tulo triennio maior in aetate, qui mecum primis ab 
annis nutritus et adultus individuo contubernio do- 
musculae, immo vero cubiculi torique sanctae caritatis 
affectione mutuo mini pigneratus, votisque nuptiah- 
bus pacto iugali pridem destinatus, consensu paren- 
tum tabulis etiani maritus nuncupatus, ad nuptias 
officio frequenti cognatorum et affiniura stipatus tem- 
plis et aedibus publicis victimas immolabat : domus 
tota lauris obsita, taedis lucida constrepebat hyme- 
naeum. Tune me gremio suo mater infelix tolerans 
mundo nuptiali decenter ornabat, mellitisque saviis 
crebriter ingestis iam spem futuram liberorum votis 
anxiis propagabat, cum irruptionis subitae gladiatorum 
impetus ad belli faciem saeviens, nudis et infestis 
nuicronibus coruscans ; non caedi, non rapinae manus 
affei-unt, sed denso conglobatoque cuneo cubiculum 
nostrum inuadunt protinus : nee ullo de familiaribus 
nostris repugnante ac ne tantillum quidem resistente, 
miseram, exanimem saevo pavore, trepidam x de 

l Oudendorp's suggestion for the MSS' trepido. 


"What, think you/' quoth she, "To deceive our 
young men of the price of your ransom ? No. no ; 
therefore cease your crying, for the thieves do little 
esteem your tears, and if you will still weep, I will 
surely burn you alive." 

Hereat the maiden was greatly afraid, and kissed 
her hand and said : " O mother, take pity upon me 
and my wretched fortune, for the sake of human 
kindness, for I think there be mercy ripe and frank 
in your venerable hoar head, and hear the sum of my 
calamity. There was a comely young man of the 
first rank in the city, who for his bounty and grace 
was beloved entirely as a son of all the town, my 
cousin-germain, and but three years older than I ; 
from our early years we two were nourished and 
brought up in one house, and lay under one roof, 
aye, in one chamber and bed, and at length by 
promise of marriage and by consent of our parents 
we were by law contracted together ; the marriage 
day was come, my spouse was accompanied with his 
parents, kinsfolk, and friends, and made sacrifice in 
the temples and public places ; the whole house was 
garnished with laurel, and torches were set in every 
place as they chanted in honour of Hymenaeus, and 
when my unhappy mother was pampering me in her 
lap and decking me like a bride, kissing me sweetly 
and praying earnestly for the hope of future children, 
behold there came in suddenly a great multitude of 
thieves, armed like men of war, with naked swords in 
their hands, who went not about to do any slaughter, 
neither to take anything away, but brake into the 
chamber where I was, and violently took me, now 
half dead with fear, out of my mother's arms, when 
none of the family would fight nor resist ever so little. 
In this sort was our marriage broken and disturbed, 



medio matris gremio rapuere. Sic ad instar Athra- 
cidis x et Protesilai dispectae disturbataeque nuptiae. 

27 Sed ecce saevissimo somnio mihi nunc etiam redinte- 
gratur, immo vero cumulatur infortunium meum : 
nam visa sum mihi de domo, de ihalamo, de cubiculo, 
de toro denique ipso violenter extracta per solitudines 
avias infortunatissimi mariti nomen invocare, eumque, 
ut primum meis amplexibus viduatus est, adhuc un- 
guentis madidum, coronis florid um consequi vestigio 
me pedibus fugientem alienis : utque clamore percito 
formosae raptum uxoris conquerens populi testatur 
auxilium, quidam de latronibus importunae perse- 
cutionis indignatione permotus saxo grandi pro pedi- 
bus arrepto misellum iuvenem maritum meum per- 
cussum interemit : talis aspectus atrocitate perterrita 
somno funesto pavens excussa sum." Tune fletibus 
eius assuspirans anus sic incipit : " Bono animo esto, 
mi herilis, nee vanis somniorum figmentis terreare : 
nam praeter quod diurnae quietis imagines falsae 
perhibentur, tune etiam nocturnae visiones contrarios 
eventus nonnunquam pronuntiant. Denique flere et 
vapulare et nonnunquam iugulari lucrosum prosper- 
umque proventum nuntiant, contra ridere et mellitis 
dulciolis ventrem saginare vel in voluptatem Vene- 
riam convenire tristitiae animi, languori corporis 
damnisque ceteris anxiatum iri praedicant. Sed ego 
te narrationibus lepidis anilibusque fabulis protinus 
avocabo " ; et incipit : . 

28 " Erant in quadam civitate rex et regina : hi tres 
numero filias forma conspicuas habuere, sed maiores 
quidem natu, quamvis gratissima specie, idonee 
tamen celebrari posse laudibus humanis credebantur, 

1 So Beroaldus for the MSS' Attidia. 



like the marriage of Hippodamia and Protesilaus: 
but behold, good mother, now my unhappy fortune is 
renewed and increased : for I dreamed in my sleep 
that I was pulled out of our house, out of our chamber, 
and out of my bed, and that I roamed about in solitary 
and unknown places, calling upon the name of my 
unfortunate husband, and that he, when he was 
robbed of my embrace, even still smelling of per- 
fumes and crowned with garlands, did trace me by 
my steps as I fled on feet not mine own, desiring the 
aid of the people to assist him, in that his fair wife 
was violently stolen away : and as he went crying up 
and down, one of the thieves, moved with indignation 
by reason of his pursuit, took up a great stone that lay 
at his feet and threw it at my husband, poor youth, 
and killed him : by the terror of which sight I awaked 
in fear from so dreadful a sleep." Then the old woman, 
rendering out like sighs, began to speak in this sort : 
" My lady, take a good heart unto you, and be not 
afraid at feigned or strange visions or dreams, for as 
the visions of the day are accounted false and untrue, 
so the visions of the night do often chance contrary : 
and indeed to dream of weeping, beating, and killing 
is a token of good luck and prosperous change, 
whereas contrary, to dream of laughing, filling the 
-belly with good cheer, or dalliance of love, is sign of 
sadness of heart, sickness of body, or other displeasure. 
But I will tell thee a pleasant old wives' tale to put 
away all thy sorrow and to revive thy spirits " ; and 
so she began in this manner : 

"There was sometime a certain king, inhabiting 
in the west parts, who had to wife a noble dame, by 
whom he had three daughters exceeding fair : of 
whom the two elder were of most comely shape and 
beauty, yet they did not excel all the praise and 



at vero puellae iunioris tarn praecipua, tarn praeclara 
pulchritude nee exprimi ac ne sufficienter quidem 
laudari sermonis human! penuria poterat. Multi deni- 
que civium et advenae copiosi, quos eximii spectaculi 
rumor studiosa celebritate congregabat, inaccessae 
formositatis admiratione stupidi et admoventes ori- 
bus suis dexteram primore digito in erectum pollicem 
residente ut ipsam prorsus deam Venerem venera- 
bantur religiosis adorationibus. lamque proximas 
civitates et attiguas regiones fama pervaserat deam, 
quamcaerulum profundum pelagi peperit et ros spu- 
mantium fluctuum educavit, iam numinis sui passim 
tributa venia in mediis conversari populi coetibus, vel 
certe rursum novo caelestium stillarum germine non 
maria, sed terras Venerem aliam, virginali flore prae- 
29 ditam, pullulasse. Sic immensum procedit in dies 
opinio, sic insulas iam proxumas et terrae plusculum- 
provinciasque plurimas fama porrecta pervagatur : 
iam multi mortalium longis itineribus atque altissimis 
inaris meatibus ad saeculi specimen gloriosum con- 
fluebant : Paphon nemo, Cnidon nemo ac ne ipsa 
quidem Cythera ad conspectum deae Veneris naviga- 

1 As in the modern actress's gesture of "blowing a kiss." 
Pliny (Natural History, xxviu. 2) tells us that " in adoring 



commendation of mortal speech ; but the singular 
passing beauty and maidenly majesty of the youngest 
daughter was so far excellent, that no earthly tongue 
could by any means sufficiently express or set out the 
same: by reason whereof the citizens and strangers 
there, being inwardly pricked by zealous affection 
to behold her famous person, came daily by thou- 
sands to see her, and as astonied with admiration of 
her incomparable beauty did no less worship and 
reverence her, bringing their right hands to their 
lips, 1 with the forefinger laid against the thumb, as 
tokens, and with other divine adorations, as if she were 
Lady Venus indeed : and shortly after the fame was 
spread into the next cities and bordering regions that 
the goddess whom the deep seas had borne and 
brought forth, and the froth of the foaming waves 
had nourished (to the intent to shew her high 
magnificency and power in earth to such as before 
did honour and worship her) was now conversant 
amongst mortal men, or else that the earth and not 
the seas, by a new concourse and influence of the 
celestial planets, had budded arid yielded forth a 
new Venus, endued with the flower of virginity. So 
daily more and more increased this opinion, and now 
was her flying fame dispersed into the next islands 
and well nigh into every part and province of the 
whole world. Whereupon innumerable strangers 
resorted from far countries, adventuring themselves 
by long journeys on land and by great travels on 
water, to behold this wonder of the age. By occasion 
whereof such a contempt grew towards the goddess 
Venus, that no person travelled unto the town 
Paphos nor unto Cnidos, no nor to the isle Cythera 

the gods and doing reverence to their images, we use to kiss 
our right hand and turn about with our whole body." 



bant. Sacra diae praetereuntur, templa deformantur, 
pulvinaria proteruntur, 1 caerimoniae negleguntur ; in- 
coronata simulacra et arae viduae frigido cinere 
foedatae. Puellae supplicatur, et in humanis vul- 
tibus deae tantae numina placantur, et in matutino 
progressu virginis victimis et epulis Veneris absentis 
nomen propitiatur, iamque per plateas commeantem 
populi frequenter floribu* sertis et solutis appre- 

"Haec honorum caelestium ad puellae mortalis 
cultum immodica translatio verae Veneris vehe- 
menter incendit animos, et impatiens indignationis, 
capite quassanti fremens altius, sic secum disserit : 
SO 'En rerum naturae prisca parens, en elementorum 
origo initialis, en orbis totius alma Venus, quae cum 
mortali puella partiario maiestatis honore tractor et 
nomen meum caelo conditum terrenis sordibus pro- 
fanatur! Nimirum communi numinis piamento 
vicariae venerationis incertum sustinebo, et ima- 
ginem meam circumferet puella moritura. Frustra 
me pastor ille, cuius iustitiam fidemque magnus 
comprobavit lupiter, ob eximiam speciem tantis 
praetulit deabus. Sed non adeo gaudens ista, quae- 
cumque est, meos honores usurpaverit : iam faxo 

i Salmasias 1 correction of the T&SS'proferuntur. 


to worship her. Her liturgies were left out, her 
temples defaced, her couches 1 contemned, her cere- 
monies neglected, and her bare altars unswept and 
foul with the ashes of old burnt sacrifice. For why, 
every person honoured and worshipped this maiden 
instead of Venus, calling upon the divinity of that 
great goddess in a human form, and in the morning 
at her first coming abroad, offered unto her oblations, 
provided banquets, called her by the name of Venus 
which was not Venus indeed, and in her honour, as 
she walked in the streets, presented flowers and 
garlands in most reverent fashion. 

" This sudden change and alteration of celestial 
honour unto the worship of a mortal maiden did 
greatly inflame and kindle the mind of very Venus, 
who (unable to temper herself from indignation, 
shaking her head in raging sort) reasoned with her- 
self in this manner : ' Behold I, the original of nature, 
the first beginning of all the elements, behold I, the 
Lady Venus of all the world, am now joined with a 
mortal maiden as a partaker of my honour ; my name, 
registered in the city of heaven, is profaned and 
made vile by terrene absurdities. If I shall suffer 
any mortal creature to present my majesty in earth, 
and must be content with sharing the godhead and 
receiving worship through other, or that any girl 
that one day is to die shall bear about a false sur- 
mised shape of my person, then in vain did Paris 
that shepherd (in whose just judgement and con- 
fidence the great Jupiter had affiance) prefer me 
above the other great goddesses for the excellency 
of my beauty : but she, whatsoever she be, shall not 

i Pulvinaria : cushions used in certain public feasts and 
processions of the gods. 



huius etiam ipsius illicitae formositatis paeniteat/ 
Et vocat confestim puerum suum pinnatum ilium et 
satis temerarium, qui malis suis moribus contempta 
disciplina publica, flammis et sagittis armatus per 
alienas domos nocte discurrens et omnium matri- 
monia corrumpens impune committit tanta flagitia, 
et nihil prorsus boni facit. Hunc, quamquam genuiria 
licentia procacem, verbis quoque insuper stimulat et 
perducit ad illam civitatem et Psychen hoc enim 
SI nomine puella nuncupabatur coram ostendit et, 
tota ilia perlata de formositatis aemulatione fabula, 
gemens ac fremens indignatione ' Per ego te ' inquit 
( Maternae caritatis foedera deprecor., per tuae sagit- 
tae dulcia vulnera, per flammae istius mellitas ure- 
dines, vindictam tuae parenti sed plenam tribue et 
in pulchritudinem contumacem severiter 1 vindica, 
idque unum et prae omnibus unicum volens effice : 
virgo ista amore flagrantissimo teneatur hominis 
extremi, quern et dignitatis et patrimonii simul et 
incolumitatis ipsius Fortuna damnavit, tamque in- 
fimi ut per totum orbem non inveniat miseriae suae 
comparem.' Sic effata, et osculis hiantibus filium diu 
ac pressule saviata proximas oras reflui litoris petit, 
plantisque roseis vibrantium fluctuum summo rore 
calcato, ecce iam profundum 2 maris sudo resedit 
vertice, et, ipsum quod incipit velle, et statim, quasi 
pridem praeceperit, non moratur marinum obse- 

l The MSS have reverenter, which does not make very good 
pense. The alteration is due to Brant. 

a The MSS and older editions had profundi, in which case the 

. 190 


for nought have usurped mine honour, but she shall 
shortly repent her of her unlawful loveliness.' 

" Then by and by she called her winged son Cupid, 
rash enough and hardy, who by his evil manners, 
contemning all public justice and law, armed with 
fire and arrows, running up and down in the nights 
from house to house, and corrupting the lawful 
marriages of every person, doth nothing (and yet he 
is not punished) but that which is evil : and although 
he were of his own proper nature sufficient prone to 
work mischief, yet she egged him forward with words 
and brought him to the city, and shewed him Psyche 
(for so the maiden was called) and having told him of 
her rival beauty, the cause of her anger, not without 
great rage, ' 1 pray thee,' quoth she, ' My dear child, 
by the motherly bond of love, by the sweet wounds 
of thy piercing darts, by the pleasant heat of thy fire, 
revenge fully the injury which is done to thy mother 
upon the false and disobedient beauty of a mortal 
maiden ; and this beyond all I pray thee without 
delay, that she may fall in desperate love with the 
most miserable creature living, the most poor, the 
most crooked, and the most vile, that there may be 
none found in all the world of like wretchedness.' 
When she had spoken these words, she embraced 
long and kissed often her son, and took her voyage 
towards the shore hard by, where the tides flow to 
and fro : and when she was come there, and had 
trodden with her rosy feet upon the top of the 
trembling waters, then the deep sea became ex- 
ceeding calm upon its whole surface, and at her will, 
as though she had before given her bidding, straight- 
meaning would be that Venus took her seat on the sea. Koehler's 
correction profundum (a substantive, as in ch. 28) is a great 
improvement, and the sense now is that the sea became calm. 



quium. Adsunt Nerei filiae chorum canentes, et 
Portunus caerulis barbis hispidus, et gravis piscoso 
sinu Salacia, et auriga parvulus delphini Palaemon : 
iam passim maria persultantes Tritonum catervae ; 
hie concha sonaci leniter buccinat, ille serico tegmine 
flagrantiae solis obsistit inimici, alius sub oculis 
dominae speculum progerit, curru biiuges alii sub- 
natant. Talis ad Oceanum pergentem Venerem 
comitatur exercitus. 

32 t( Interea Psyche cum sua sibi perspicua pulchri- 
tudine nullum decoris sui fructum percipit. Spec- 
tatur ab omnibus, laudatur ab omnibus, nee quisquam, 
non rex, non regius, nee de plebe saltern cupiens 
eius nuptiarum petitor accedit : mirantur quidem 
divinam speciem, sed ut simulacrum fabre politum 
mirantur omnes. Olim duae maiores sorores, quarum 
temperatam formositatem nulli difFamarant populi, 
procis regibus desponsae iam beatas nuptias adeptae, 
sed Psyche virgo vidua domi residens deflet desertam 
suam solitudinem, aegra corporis, animi saucia, et 
quamvis gentibus totis complacitam odit in se suam 

"Sic infortunatissimae filiae miserrimus pater, sus- 
pectatis caelestibus odiis et irae superum metuens, 
dei Milesii vetustissimum percontatur oraculum et a 
tanto numine precibus et victimis ingratae virgini 
petit nuptias et maritum. Sed Apollo, quamquam 


way appeared her servitors from the deep : for 
incontinent came the daughters of Nereus singing 
with tunes melodiously ; Portunus with his bristled 
and rough beard of azure ; Salacia with her bosom 
full of fish ; Palaemon the little driver of the dolphin ; 
and the bands of Triton trumpeters leaping hither 
and thither, the one blowing on his shell with 
heavenly noise, another turning aside with a silken 
veil the burning heat of the fierce sun, another 
holding her mirror before his lady's eyes, others, 
yoked two together, swimming beneath her car. 
Such was the company which followed Venus 
marching towards the middest Ocean. 

"In the mean season Psyche with all her beauty 
received no fruit of her honour. She was wondered 
at of all, she was praised of all, but she perceived 
that no king nor prince nor any of the inferior sort 
did repair to woo her. Every one marvelled at her 
divine beauty, but only as it were at some image well 
painted and set out. Her other two sisters, whose 
lesser beauty was nothing so greatly exalted by the 
people, were royally married to two kings, but the 
virgin Psyche sitting at home alone lamented her 
solitary life, and being disquieted both in mind and 
body (although she pleased all the world) yet hated 
she in herself her own beauty. 

" Whereupon the miserable father of this unfortu- 
nate daughter, suspecting that the gods and powers 
of heaven did envy her estate, went into the town 
called Miletus to receive the most ancient oracle of 
Apollo, where he made his prayers and offered 
sacrifice, and desired a husband for his neglected 
daughter ; but Apollo, though he were a Grecian of 
the country of Ionia, yet for the sake of him that 

N 193 


Graecus et lonicus, propter Milesiae conditorem sic 
Latina sorte respondit : 

33 ' Montis in excelsi scopulo, rex, siste puellam 

Ornatam naundo funerei thalami : 
Nee speres generum mortali stirpe creatum, 

Sed saevum atque ferum vipereumque malum, 
Quod pinnis volitans super aethera cuncta fatigat 

Flammaque et ferro singula debilitat ; 
Quod tremit ipse lovis, quo numina terrificantur, 

Fluminaque horrescunt et Stygiae tenebrae.' 

Rex, olim beatus, affatu sanctae vaticinationis accepto 
pigens tristisque retro domum pergit suaeque coniugi 
praecepta sortis enodat infaustae. Maeretur, fletur, 
lamentatur diebus plusculis : sed dirae sortis iam ur- 
get taeter effectus, iam feralium nuptiarum miserri- 
mae virgini choragium struitur, iam taedae lumen 
atrae fuliginis cinere marcescit, et sonus tibiae zygiae 
mutatur in querulum Lydii modum, cantusque laetus 
hymenaei lugubri finitur ululatu, et puella nuptura 
deterget lacrimas ipso suo flammeo. Sic affectae do- 
mus triste fatum cuncta etiam civitas congemebat, 
luctuque publico confestim congruens edicitur ius- 

34 " Sed monitis caelestibus parendi necessitas misel- 
lam Psychen ad destinatam poenam efflagitabat : per- 
fectis igitur feralis thalami cum summo maerore 
sollemnibus toto prosequente populo vivum produci- 
tur funus et lacrimosa Psyche comitatur non nuptias 


telleth this Milesian tale, gave answer in Latin 
verse, the sense whereof was this : 

( Let Psyche's corpse be clad in mourning weed 

And set on rock of yonder hill aloft : 
Her husband is no wight of human seed, 

But serpent dire and fierce as may be thought, 
Who flies with wings above in starry skies 

And doth subdue each thing with fiery flight. 
The gods themselves and powers that seem so 

With mighty Jove be subject to his might; 
The rivers black and deadly floods of pain 
And darkness eke as thrall to him remain.' 

The king, beforetimes happy, when he heard the 
prophecy of Apollo, returned home sad and sor- 
rowful, and declared to his wife the miserable and 
unhappy fate of his daughter : then they began to 
lament and weep, and passed over many days in 
great sorrow. But now was the sad fulfilment of 
the oracle at hand, now the time approached of 
Psyche's funeral marriage ; preparation was made, 
the torches burned weakly with black and sooty 
flame, the pleasant sound of the nuptial flute was 
turned into the sad Lydian strains, the melody of 
Hymeriaeus was ended with deadly howling, the 
maiden that should be married did wipe her eyes 
with her veil ; all the people of the city wept likewise 
the gloomy fate of a fallen house ; and with great 
lamentation was ordained a public mourning for that 

" But necessity compelled that poor Psyche should 
be brought to her appointed doom, according to the 
divine commandment ; and when the solemnity of 
the wretched wedding was ended with great sorrow, 



sed exequias suas. Ac dum maesti parentes et tanto 
malo perciti nefarium facinus perficere cunctantur, 
ipsa ilia filia talibus eos adhortatur vocibus : < Quid 
infelicem senectam fletu diutino cruciatis? Quid 
spiritum vestrum, qui magis meus est, crebris eiula- 
tibus fatigatis ? Quid lacrimis inefficacibus ora mihi 
veneranda foedatis ? Quid laceratis in vestris oculis 
mea lumina ? Quid canitiem scinditis ? Quid pec- 
tora_, quid ubera sancta tunditis ? Haec erunt vobis 
egregiae formositatis meae praeclara praemia? In- 
vidiae nefariae letali plaga percussi sero sentitis. 
Cum gentes et populi celebrarent nos divinis honori- 
bus, cum novam me Venerem ore consono nuncu- 
parent, tune dolere, tune flere, tune me iam quasi 
peremptam lugere debuistis : iam sentio, iam video 
solo me nomine Veneris perisse. Ducite me, et cui 
sors addixit scopulo sistite : festino felices istas nup- 
tias obire, festino generosurn ilium maritum meum 
videre. Quid differo ? Quid detrecto venientem 
35 qui totius orbis exitio natus est ? ' Sic profata virgo 
conticuit ingressuque iam valido pompae populi pro- 
sequentis sese miscuit. Itur ad constitutum scopu- 
lum montis ardui, cuius in summo cacumine statutam 
puellam cuncti deserunt, taedasque nuptiales. quibus 
praeluxerant, ibidem lacrimis suis extinctas relin- 
quentes deiectis capitibus domuitionem parant, et 
miseri quidem parentes eius tanta clade defessi 
clausae domus abstrusi tenebris perpetuae nocti sese 



all the people followed the living corpse, and they 
went to bring this sorrowful spouse, not to her 
marriage, but to her final end and burial. And 
while the father and mother of Psyche did go for- 
ward, weeping and crying and delaying to do this 
enterprise, Psyche spake unto them in this sort : 
' Why torment you your unhappy age with continual 
dolour ? Why trouble you your breath, which is 
more rather mine than yours, with these many cryings ? 
Why soil ye with useless tears your faces which I 
ought to adore and worship ? Why tear you my eyes 
when ye tear yours ? Why pull you your hoar hairs ? 
Why knock you your breasts that are holy to me ? 
Now you see the reward of my excellent beauty : 
now, now, you perceive (but too late) the deadly 
plague of envy. When the people did honour me 
with divine honours and all together call me new 
Venus, then you should have grieved, then you 
should have wept, then you should have sorrowed, 
as though I had been then dead : for now I see and 
perceive that I am come to this misery by the only 
name of Venus. Bring me, and (as fortune hath 
appointed) place me on the top of the rock ; I 
greatly desire to end my happy marriage, I greatly 
covet to see my noble husband. Why do I delay ? 
Why should I refuse him that is appointed to 
destroy all the world ? ' Thus ended she her words, 
and thrust herself with strong gait amongst the people 
that followed : then they brought her to the ap- 
pointed rock of the high hill, and set her thereon 
and so departed. The torches and lights were put 
out with the tears of the people, and every man 
gone home with bowed heads : the miserable parents, 
well nigh consumed with sorrow, closed themselves 
in their palace and gave themselves to everlasting 



dedidere. Psychen autem paventem ac trepidam 
et in ipso scopuli vertice deflentem mitis aura mol- 
liter spirantis Zephyri, vibratis hinc inde laciniis et 
reflate sinu, sensim levatam suo tranquillo spiritu 
vehens paulatim per devexa rupis excelsae, vallis 
subditae florentis caespitis gremio leniter delapsam 



darkness. Thus poor Psyche being left alone weep- 
ing and trembling on the highest top of the rock, there 
came a gentle air of softly breathing Zephyrus and 
carried her from the hill, with a meek wind, which 
retained her garments up, and by little and little 
brought her down into a deep valley, where she was 
laid in a soft grassy bed of most sweet and fragrant 



1 " PSYCHE teneris et herbosis locis in ipso toro roscidi 
graminis suave recubans, tanta mentis perturbatione 
sedata, dulce conquievit. lamque sufficient! recreata 
somno placido resurgit animo : videt lucum proceris 
et vastis arboribus consitum, videt fontem vitreo latice 
perlucidum medio luci meditullio. Prope fontis al- 
lapsum domus regia est, aedificata non humanis 
manibus sed divinis artibus : iam scies ab introitu 
primo dei cuiuspiam luculentum et amoenum videre 
te diversorium. Nam summa laquearia, citro et ebore 
curiose cavata, subeunt aureae columnae, parietes 
omnes argenteo caelamine conteguntur, bestiis et id 
genus pecudibus occurrentibus ob os introeuntium. 
Mirus prorsum homo, immo semideus vel certe deus, 
qui magnae artis subtilitate tantum efferavit argentum : 
enimvero pavimenta ipsa lapide pretioso caesim de- 
minuto in varia picturae genera discriminantur : 
vehementer iterum ac saepius beatos illos qui super 
gemmas et monilia calcant ! Iam ceterae partes longe 

"THUS fair Psyche being sweetly couched amongst 
the soft and tender herbs, as in a bed of dewy grass 
and fragrant flowers, and having qualified the troubles 
and thoughts of her restless mind, was now well 
reposed : and when she had refreshed herself suffi- 
ciently with sleep, she rose with a more quiet and 
pacified mind, and fortuned to espy a pleasant wood 
environed with great and mighty trees, and likewise 
a running river as clear as crystal ; in the middest 
and very heart of the woods, well nigh at the fall of 
the river, was a princely edifice, wrought and builded, 
not by the art or hand of man, but by the mighty 
power of a god : and you would judge at the first 
entry therein, that it were some pleasant and worthy 
mansion for the powers of heaven. For the embow- 
ings above were curiously carven out of citron and 
ivory, propped and undermined with pillars of gold ; 
the walls covered and seeled with silver ; divers sorts 
of beasts were graven and carved, that seemed to 
encounter with such as entered in : all things were 
so curiously and finely wrought, that it seemed either 
to be the work of some demigod, or God himself, that 
put all these beasts into silver. The pavement was 
all of precious stone, divided and cut one from another, 
whereon was carved divers kinds of pictures, in such 
sort that blessed and thrice blessed were they which 
might go upon such a pavement of gems and orna- 



lateque dispositae domus sine pretio pretiosae totique 
parietes solidati massis aureis splendore proprio corus- 
cant, ut diem suum sibi domus faciat licet sole no- 
lente ; sic cubicula, sic porticus, sic ipsae valvae ful- 
gurant. Nee setius opes ceterae maiestati domus 
respondent, ut equidem illud recte videatur ad con- 
versationem humanam magno lovi fabricatum caeleste 

2 " Invitata Psyche talium locorum oblectatione 
propius accessit et paulo fidentior intra limen sese 
facit, mox prolectante studio pulcherrimae visionis 
rimatur singula et altrinsecus aedium horrea sublimi 
fabi'ica perfecta magnisque congesta gazis conspicit ; 
nee est quicquam quod ibi non est : sed praeter cete- 
ram tantarum divitiarum admirationem hoc erat 
praecipue mirificum, quod nullo vinculo, nullo claustro, 
nullo custode totius orbis thesaurus ille muniebatur. 
Haec ei summa cum voluptate visenti offert sese vox 
quaedam corporis sui nuda, et ' Quid,' inquit ' Do- 
mina, tantis obstupescis opibus ? Tua sunt haec 
omnia. Prohinc cubiculo te refer, et lectulo lassitu- 
dinem refove, et ex arbitrio lavacrum pete. Nos 
quarum voces accipis, tuae famulae ; sedulo tibi prae- 
Tninistrabimus nee corporis curatae tibi regales epulae 

3 " Sensit Psyche divinae providentiae beatitudinem 
monitusque, voces informes audiens, et prius somno 
et mox lavacro fatigationem sui diluit, visoque statim 
proximo semirotundo suggestu, propter instrumentum 


merits : every part and angle of the house was So 
well adorned by the precious stones and inestimable 
treasure there, and the walls were so solidly built up 
with great blocks of gold, that glittered and shone 
in such sort that the chambers, porches, and doors 
gave out the light of day as it had been the sun. 
Neither otherwise did the other treasure of the house 
disagree unto so great a majesty, that verily it seemed 
in every point a heavenly palace fabricated and 
builded for Jupiter himself wherein to dwell among 
men. i 

" Then Psyche, moved with delectation, approached 
nigh, and taking a bold heart entered into the house 
led on by the beauty of that sight, and beheld every- 
thing there with great affection : she saw storehouses 
wrought exceeding fine, and replenished with abund- 
ance of riches, and finally, there could nothing be 
devised which lacked there, but amongst such great 
store of treasure, this was more marvellous, that there 
was no closure, bolt, or lock, and no guardian to keep 
the same. And when with great pleasure she viewed 
all these things, she heard a voice without any body, 
that said : ' Why do you marvel, lady, at so great 
riches ? Behold all that you see is at your^'command- 
ment : wherefore go you into the chamber and repose 
yourself upon the bed, and desire what bath you will 
have, and we, whose voices you hear, be your ser- 
vants, and ready to minister unto you according to 
your desire : in the mean season, when you have 
refreshed your body, royal meats and dainty dishes 
shall be prepared for you.' 

" Then Psyche perceived the felicity of divine 
providence, and according to the advertisement of 
the incorporeal voices she first reposed herself upon 
the bed, and then refreshed her body in the bath. 



cenatorium rata refectui suo commodum, libens ac- 
cumbit. Et illico vini nectarei eduliumque variorum 
fercula copiosa, nullo serviente sed tantum spiritu 
quodam impulsa, subministrantur : nee quemquam 
tamen ilia videre poterat, sed verba tantum audiebat 
excidentia et solas voces famulas habebat. Post 
opimas dapes quid am introcessit et cantavit invisus 
et alius citharam pulsavit, quae videbatur nee ipsa : 
tune modulatae multitudinis conferta vox aures eius 
affertur, ut, quamvis hominum nemo pareret, chorus 
tamen esse pateret. 

4 " Finitis. voluptatibus, vespera suadente, concedit 
Psyche cubitum, iamque provecta nocte clemens 
quidam sonus aures eius accedit. Tune virginitati 
suae pro tanta solitudine metuens et pavet et horrescit, 
et quovis malo plus timet quod ignorat : iamque 
aderat ignobilis maritus et torum inscenderat et 
uxorem sibi Psychen fecerat et ante lucis exortum 
propere discesserat : statim voces eubiculo praesto- 
latae novam nuptam interfectae virginitatis curant. 
Haec diutino tempore sic agebantur, atque, ut est 
natura redditum, novitas per assiduam consuetudinem 
delectationem ei commendarat, et sonus vocis in- 
certae solitudinis erat solacium. Interea parentes 
eius indefesso luctu atque maerore consenescebant, 
latiusque porrecta fama sorores illae maiores cuncta 


This done, she saw the table garnished with meats, 
and a round chair to sit down, and gladly reposed 
herself beside the array for dining, which she thought 
was set very conveniently for her refreshment. Then 
straightway all sorts of wines like nectar were brought 
in, and plentiful dishes of divers meats, not by any- 
body but as it were by some divine spirit or breath, 
for she could see no person before her, but only hear 
words falling on every side, and she had only voices 
to serve her. After that all the rich services were 
brought to the table, one came in and sang invisibly, 
another played on the harp, and that, too, could not 
be seen ; the harmony of a large concourse did so 
greatly thrill in her ears, that though there were no 
manner of person, yet seemed she in the midst of> 
a great quire. 

"All these pleasures finished, when night ap- 
proached Psyche went to bed ; and when she was 
laid, and the night far advanced, still a sweet sound 
came about her ears ; then she greatly feared for her 
virginity, because she was alone ; she trembled and 
quaked the more for that she knew not what evil 
might come to pass. Then came her unknown husband 
to her bed, and after that he had made her his very 
wife, he rose in the morning before day and departed. 
Soon after came those invisible voices, consoling the 
bride for that virginity she had lost, and thus she 
passed a great while : and so (as it naturally hap- 
pened) that which was first a novelty, by continual 
custom did at last bring her great pleasure, but 
specially the sound of the voices was a comfort unto 
her being alone and knowing nothing of her estate. 
During this time her father and mother did nothing 
but weep and lament in their old age, and the fame 
of it was all blown abroad, and her two sisters, 



cognorant, propereque maestae atque lugubres deserto 
Lare certatim ad parentum suorum conspectum affa- 
tumque perrexerant. 

5 " Ea nocte ad suara Psychen sic infit maritus 
(namque praeter oculos et manibus et auribus is non 
nihil sentiebatur) : ' Psyche dulcissima et cara uxor, 
exitiabile tibi periculum minatur fortuna saevior, quod 
observandum pressiore cautela censeo. Sorores, iam 
tuae mortis opinione turbatae tuumque vestigium 
requirentes, scopulum istum protinus aderunt, quarum 
si quas forte lamentationes acceperis, neque re- 
spondeas, immo nee prospicias omnino ; ceterum 
mihi quidem gravissimum dolorem, tibi vero summum 
creabis exitium.' 

" Annuit et ex arbitrio mariti se facturam spo- 
pondit. sed eo simul cum nocte dilapso diem totum 
lacrimis ac plangoribus misella consumit, se nunc 
maxime prorsus perisse iterans^ quae beati carceris 
custodia saepta et humanae conversationis colloquio 
viduata nee sororibus quidem suis de se maerentibus 
opem salutarem ferre ac ne videre eas quidem omnino 
posset ; nee lavacro nee cibo nee ulla denique re- 
fectione recreata flens ubertim decessit ad somnum. 

6 Nee mora, cum paulo maturius lectum maritus ac- 
cubans, eamque etiamnunc lacrimantem com plexus, sic 
expostulat : ' Haecine mihi pollicebare, Psyche mea ? 
Quid iam de te tuus maritus expecto, quid spero ? 
Et perdia et pernox nee inter amplexus coniugales 
desinis cruciatum. Age iam nunc ut voles et animo 
tuo damnosa poscenti pare to : tantum memineris 
meae seriae monitionis cum coeperis sero paenitere.' 


hearing of her most miserable fortune, came with 
great dolour and sorrow to see and speak with their 

" Now on that very night Psyche's husband spake 
unto her (for she might not know him with her eyes, 
but only with her hands and ears) and said : ' O my 
sweet spouse and dear wife, fortune doth menace unto 
thee imminent peril and danger, whereof I wish thee 
greatly to beware : for know thou that thy sisters, 
thinking thou art dead, be greatly troubled and will 
soon come to the mountain by thy footsteps ; whose 
lamentations, if thou fortune to hear, beware that 
thou do in no wise either make answer or look up 
toward them. For if thou do, thou shalt purchase to 
me a great sorrow, and to thyself utter destruction.' 
Psyche (hearing her husband) promised that she 
would do all things as he commanded, but after that 
he was departed, and the night passed away, she 
lamented and cried all day following, thinking that 
now she was past all hope of comfort in that she was 
both closed within the walls of a fine prison, deprived 
of human conversation, and commanded not to aid or 
assist her sorrowful sisters, no, nor once to see them. 
Thus she passed all the day in weeping, and went to 
bed at night without any refection of meat or bathing, 
but incontinently after came her husband earlier than 
he was wont, who (when he had embraced her sweetly) 
as she still wept, began to say : ' Is it thus that you 
perform your promise, my sweet wife ? What do I 
find here, that am your husband ? What have I to 
hope? Pass you all the day and the night in 
weeping, and will you not cease even in your hus- 
band's arms ? Go to, do what you will, purchase 
your own destruction, and when you find it so, then 
remember my words and repent, but too late.' 


"Tune ilia precibus et dum se morituram com- 
minatur extorquet a marito cupitis annuat, ut sorores 
videat, luctus mulceat, ora conferat : sic ille novae 
nuptae precibus veniam tribuit, et insuper quibus- 
cumque vellet eas auri vel monilium donare concessit, 
sed identidem monuit ac saepe terruit, nequando 
sororum pernicioso consilio suasa de forma mariti 
quaerat, neve se sacrilega curiositate de tanto fortu- 
narum suggestu pessum deiciatnec suum postea con- 
tingat amplexum. Gratias egit marito, iamque laetior 
' Sed prius ' inquit ' Centies moriar quam tuo isto 
dulcissimo connubio caream : amo enim, et efflictim 
te, quicumque es, diligo aeque ut meum spiritum, 
nee ipsi Cupidini compare. Sed istud etiam meis 
precibus, oro, largire et illi tuo famulo Zephyro prae- 
cipe simili vectura sorores hie mihi sistat ' : et impri- 
mens oscula suasoria et ingerens verba mulcentia et 
iungens membra cohibentia, haec etiam blanditiis 
astruit : ( Mi mellite, mi marite, tuae Psychae dulcis 
anima.' Vi ac potestate Venerei susurrus invitus 
succubuit maritus et cuncta se facturum spopondit, 
atque iam luce proximante de manibus uxoris 

7 " At illae sorores percontatae scopulum locumque 
ilium, quo fuerat Psyche deserta, festinanter ad- 
veniunt, ibique difflebant oculos et plangebant ubera, 
quoad crebrisearum eiulatibus saxa cautesque parilem 


" Then she desired her husband more and more, 
assuring him that she should die, unless he would 
grant her desire that she might see her sisters, 
whereby she might speak with them and comfort 
them ; whereat at length he was contented, and 
moreover he willed that she should give them as 
much gold and jewels as she would, but he gave her 
a further charge, warning her often, and saying that 
she should beware that she should covet not (being 
moved by the pernicious counsel of her sisters) to see 
the shape of his person, lest by her wicked curiosity 
she should be deprived of so great and worthy estate 
and nevermore feel his embrace.' Psyche being 
glad herewith rendered unto him most entire 
thanks and said : ' My honey, my husband, I 
had rather die an hundred times than be separate 
from your sweet company ; for whosoever you 
be, I love and retain you within my heart, as 
if you were mine own spirit, and I make you not 
less than if you were Cupid himself: but I 
pray you grant this likewise, that you would com- 
mand your servant Zephyrus to bring my sisters 
down into the valley, as he brought me, and place 
them here ' ; wherewithal she kissed him sweetly, 
and desired him with tender words to grant her 
request, and clasped him closely to her bosom, calling 
him her spouse, her sweetheart, her joy, her own 
very soul, whereby she enforced him by the power of 
her love (though unwilling) to her mind, and he 
promised to do her will, and when morning came he 
departed away from her arms. 

"After long search made, the sisters of Psyche 

came unto the hill where she had been set on the 

rock, and cried with a loud voice and beat their 

breasts, in such sort that the rocks and stones with 

o 209 

Somim resultarent. lamque nomine proprio sororehi 
miseram ciebant, quoad sono penetrabili vocis ulula- 
bilis per prona delapso amens et trepida Psyche pro- 
currit e domo et, ( Quid ' inquit ' Vos miseris lamen- 
tationibus nequicquam effligitis? Quam lugetis ad- 
sum. Lugubres voces desinite, et diutinis lacrimis 
madentes genas siccate tandem, quippe cum iam pos- 
sitis quam plarigebatis amplecti.' Tune vocatum 
Zephyrum praecepti maritalis admonet : nee mora, 
cum ille parens imperio statim clementissimis flatibus 
innoxia vectura deportat illas. Iam mutuis amplexi- 
bus et festinantibus saviis sese perfruuntur, et illae 
sedatae lacrimae postliminio redeunt prolectante 
gaudio. ' Sed et tectum ' inquit ' Et Larem nostrum 
laetae succedite, et afflictas animas cum Psyche vestra 
8 recreate.' Sic allocuta summas opes domus aureae 
vocumque servientium populosam familiam demon- 
strat auribus earum, lavacroque pulcherrimo et in- 
humanae mensae lautitiis eas opipare reficit, ut 
illarum prorsus caelestium divitiarum copiis affluen- 
tibus satiatae iam praecordiis penitus nutrirent in- 
vidiam. Denique altera earum satis scrupulose 
curioseque percontari non desinit, quis illarum cae- 
lestium rerum dominus., quisve vel qualis ipsius sit 
maritus : nee tamen Psyche coniugale illud praecep- 
tum ullo pacto temerat vel pectoris arcanis exigit, 
sed e re nata confingit esse iuvenem quendam et 
speciosum, commodum lanoso barbitio genas inum- 
brantem, plerumque rurestribus ac montanis venati- 


echoes answered again their frequent howlings : and 
when they called their sister by her name, so that 
their lamentable cries came down the mountain unto 
her ears, she came forth, very anxious and now almost 
out of her mind, and said : ' Behold, here is she for 
whom you weep ; I pray you torment yourself no 
more, and dry those tears with which you have so 
long wetted your cheeks, for now may you embrace 
her for whom you mourned.' 

" By and by she commanded Zephyrus by the ap- 
pointment of her husband to bring them down ; 
neither did he delay, for with gentle blasts he re- 
tained them up, and laid them softly in the valley : 
I am not able to express the often embracing, kissing, 
and greeting which was between them three ; and 
those tears which had been then laid apart sprang 
forth again for joy. ' Come in/ quoth Psyche. ' Into 
our house with gladness and refresh your afflicted 
minds with meyoursister.' After this she shewed them 
the storehouses of treasure, she caused them to hear 
the great company of voices which served her, the 
fair bath was made ready, and she entertained 
them richly with dainty meats of her celestial table, 
and when they had eaten and filled themselves with 
divine delicacies they conceived great envy within 
their hearts : and one of them being very curious in 
every point, did not cease to demand what her hus- 
band was, and who was the lord of so precious a 
house ; but Psyche, remembering the promise which 
she made to her husband, did not let it go forth from 
the secret places of her heart, but with timely 
colour feigned that he was a young man of comely 
stature with soft down, rather than a beard, just 
beginning to shadow his cheeks, and had great de- 
light in hunting in the hills and dales hard by : and 




bus occupatum, et ne qua sermonis procedentis labe 
consilium taciturn proderetur, auro facto gemmosis- 
que monilibus onustas eas statim vocato Zephyro 
tradit reportandas. 

9 " Quo protenus perpetrate sorores egregiae domum 
redeuntes, iamque gliscentis invidiae felle flagrantes 
multa secum sermonibus mutuis perstrepebant : sic 
denique infit altera : ' En orba et saeva et iniqua For- 
tuna! Hocine tibi complacuit, ut utroque parente 
prognatae diversam sortem sustineremus ? Et nos 
quidem, quae natu maiores sumus, maritis advenis 
ancillae deditae, extorres et Lare et ipsa patria de- 
gamus longe parentum velut exulantes, haec auteic 
novissima, quam fetu satiante postremus partus 
effudit, tantis opibus et deo marito potita sit, quae 
nee uti recte tanta bonorum copia novit? Vidisti, 
soror, quanta in domo iacent et qualia monilia, quae 
praenitent vestes, quae splendicant gemmae, quantum 
praeterea passim calcatur aurum : quod si maritum 
etiam tarn formosum tenet, ut affirmat, nulla nunc in 
orbe toto felicior vivit. Fortassis tamen procedente 
consuetudine et affectione roborata deam quoque 
illam deus maritus efficiet. Sic est Hercule, sic se 
gerebat ferebatque : iam iam sursum respicit et deam 
spirat mulier, quae voces ancillas habet et ventis ipsis 
imperitat. At ego misera primum patre meo seniorem. 
maritum sortita sum, dein cucurbita calviorem et 


lest by her long talk she should be found to trip or 
fail in her words and betray her secret counsel, she 
filled their laps with gold and ornaments of jewels, 
and commanded Zephyrus to carry them away. 

"When this was done these worthy sisters took 
their ways homeward to their own houses, and the 
poison of envy that they bare against Psyche grew 
hot within them, so that they murmured with much 
talk between them ; and one began : ' Behold a cruel 
and contrary fortune ! Doth it It please thee 
that we (born all of one parent) have divers des- 
tinies, but especially we, that are the elder two, be 
married to strange husbands, made as handmaidens, 
and as it were banished from our country and friends; 
whereas our younger sister, last born, which is ever the 
weakest, hath so great abundance of treasure and 
gotten a god to her husband, but hath no skill how 
to use so great plenty of riches. Saw you not, 
sister, what was in the house ? What great store of 
jewels, what glittering robes, what gems, yea, what 
gold we trod on ? So that if she have a goodly hus- 
band according as she affirmeth there is none that 
liveth this day more happy in all the world than 
she. And so it may come to pass that at length, 
if the great affection and love which he beareth 
unto her do continually increase, he may make 
her a goddess, for (by Hercules) such was her 
port, so she behaved herself. Now already she 
holds up her countenance, now she breathes the 
goddess, that as a woman hath voices to serve her, 
and lays her commands upon the winds. But I, poor 
wretch, have first married a husband older than my 
father, more bald than a coot, 1 more weak than 

1 The Latin uses another comparison : " balder than a 


quovis puero pusilliorern, cuuctam domum seris et 
catenis obditam custodientem.' 

10 " Suscipit alia : ' Ego vero maritum articular! etiam 
morbo complicatum curvaturaque, ac per hoc rarissimo 
Venerem meam recolentem sustineo, plerumque de- 
tortos et duratos in lapidem digitos eius perfricans, 
fomentis olidis et pannis sordidis et faetidis cataplas- 
matibus manus tarn delicatas istas adurens, nee uxoris 
officiosam faciem sed medicae laboriosam personam 
sustinens. Et tu quidem, soror, videris, quam patienti 
vel potius servili dicam enim libere quod sentio 
haec perferas animo : enimvero ego nequeo sustinere 
ulterius tarn beatam fortunam illapsam l indignae. 
Recordare enim quam superbe, quam arroganter 
nobiscum egerit et ipsa iactatione immodicae ostenta- 
tionis tumentem suum prodiderit animum, deque 
tantis divitiis exigua nobis invita proiecerit, con- 
festimque praesentia nostra gravata propelli et efflari 
exsibilarique nos iusserit. Nee sum mulier nee 
omnino spiro, iiisi earn pessum de tantis opibus deie- 
cero. Ac si tibi etiam. ut par est^ inacuit nostra con- 
tumeliajConsilium validuvn requiramns ambae. lamque 
ista, quae ferimus > non parentibus nostris ac nee ulli 
monstremus alii, immo nee omnino quicquam de eius 
salute norimus : sat est quod ipsae vidimus quae 
vidisse paenituit, nedum ut genitoribus et omnibus 
populis tarn beatum eius differamus praeconium : nee 
sunt enim beati quorum divitias nemo novit. Sciet 
se 11011 ancillas sed sorores habere maiores : et nunc 
quidem concedamus ad maritos et Lares pauperes 
nostros sed plane sobrios revisamus diuque cogita- 
tionibus pressioribus instructae ad superbiam poeni- 

1 MSS collapsam. The alteration is due to Bluemner, but 
other suggestions, such asLipsius' coUatamor Helui's aUapsam, 
may as well be right. 



a child, and one that locketh up all the house with 
bolts and chains.' 

"Then said the other sister : f And in faith 1 am 
married to a husband that hath the gout, bent 
crooked, not courageous in paying the debt of love ; 
I am fain to rub and mollify his crabbed and stony 
fingers, and I soil my white and dainty hands with 
stinking plasters and rank-smelling salves and with 
the corruption of filthy clouts, so that he uses me 
not like a wife, but more like a surgeon's servant. 
And you, my sister, seem to bear this with a patient, 
nay (that I may speak freely) with a servile mind, 
but I cannot abide to see our younger sister so 
unworthy in such great felicity. Saw you not, I 
pray, how proudly and arrogantly she handled us 
even now, and how in vaunting herself she uttered 
her presumptuous mind, how she cast grudgingly 
a little gold into our laps, and (being weary of our 
company) commanded that we should be borne and 
blown and whistled away? Verily, I live not nor 
am I a woman, but I will cast her utterly down from 
her rich estate : and if you, my sister, as you should, 
be so far made bitter herewith as I, let us consult 
boldly together, and not shew this that we have to 
any person, no, nor yet to our parents, nor tell that 
we know that she liveth. For it sufficeth that we 
have seen her, whom it repenteth to have seen : 
neither let us declare her good fortune to our father, 
nor to all the world, for they be not wealthy, whose 
riches are unknown : so shall she know that she 
hath not abject slaves, but very elder sisters. But 
now let us go home to our husbands and poor houses, 
that be yet honest enough, and when we are better 
instructed with most careful plotting, let us return 
the stronger to suppress her pride.' So this -vil 


11 endam firmiores redeamus.' Placet pro bono duabus 
mails malum consilium, totisque illis tam pretiosis 
muneribus absconditis, comam trahentes et pvoinde 
ut merebantur ora lacerantes simulates redintegrant 
fletus. Ac sic parentes quoque redulcerato prorsum 
dolore raptim deterrentes, vesania turgidae domus 
suas contendunt dolum scelestum, immo vero parri- 
cidium struentes contra sororem insontem. 

11 Interea Psychen maritus ille quern nescit rursum 
suis illis nocturnis sermonibus sic commonet : ' Videsne 
quantum tibi periculum ? Velitatur Fortuna eminus 
ac, nisi longe firmiter praecaves, mox comminus 
congredietur. Perfidae lupulae magnis conatibus 
nefarias insidias tibi comparant, quarum summa est, 
ut te suadeant meos explorare vultus, quos, ut tibi 
saepe praedixi, non videbis si videris. Ergo igitur si 
posthac pessimae iliac lamiae noxiis animis armatae 
venerint venient autem, scio neque omnino ser_ 
monem conferas et, si id tolerare pro genuina 
simplicitate proque animi tui teneritudine non potu- 
eris, certe de marito nil quicquam vel audias vel 
respondeas : nam et familiam nostram iam pro- 
pagabimus et hie adhuc infantilis uterus gestat nobis 
infantem alium, si texeris nostra secreta silentio, 

12 divinum, si profanaveris, mortalem.' Nuntio Psyche 
laeta florebat et divinae subolis solacio plaudebat et 


counsel seemed good to these two evil women, and 
they hid that great treasure which Psyche gave them, 
and tare their hair and befouled their faces renewing 
their false and forged tears. Thus did they terrify 
their father and mother, and doubled their sorrows 
and griefs ; and then full of ire and farced with envy 
they took their voyage homeward devising the hurt, 
nay the slaughter and destruction of their harmless 

" In the mean season the husband of Psyche, whom 
she knew not, did warn her again in the night with 
these words : f Seest thou not,' quoth he, ' What 
peril and danger evil fortune doth threaten unto thee 
from afar ? Whereof if thou take not good heed in 
time, it will shortly come upon thee : for the un- 
faithful harlots do greatly endeavour to set their 
snares to catch thee, and their purpose is to make 
and persuade thee to behold my face, which if thou 
once fortune to see (as I have often told thee) thou 
shalt see no more : wherefore if these naughty hags, 
armed with wicked minds, do chance to come again 
(as I think not otherwise but that they will) take 
heed that thou talk not with them, but simply 
suffer them to speak what they will ; howbeit, if 
thou canst not restrain thyself for thy natural sim- 
plicity and for the tender years of thy mind, beware 
that thou have no communication of thy husband, 
nor answer a word if they fortune to question of me. 
So will we increase our stock, and thou hast a young 
and tender child couched in this young and tender 
belly of thine, who shall be made, if thou conceal 
my secret, an immortal god, but otherwise a mortal 
creature.' Then Psyche was very glad that she 
should bring forth a divine babe, and proud of the 
pledge that was to be born, and very joyful in that 



futuri pignoris gloria gestiebat et materni nominis 
dignitate gaudebat : crescentes dies et menses 
exeuntes anxia numerat, et sarcinae nesciae rudi- 
mento miratur de brevi punctulo tantum incrcmen- 
tulum locupletis uteri. 

" Sed iam pestes illae taeterrimaeque furiae 
anhelantes vipereum virus et festinantes impia 
celeritate navigabant. Tune sic iterum momentarius 
maritus suam Psychen admonet : * Dies ultima et 
casus extremus : et sexus infestus et sanguis inimicus 
iam sumpsit arma et castra commovit et aciem direxit 
et classicum personavit ; iam mucrone destricto 
iugulum tuum nefariae tuae sorores petunt Heu 
quantis urguemur cladibus, Psyche dulcissima ! Tui 
nostrique miserere, religiosaque continentia domum, 
maritum, teque et istum parvulum nostrum im- 
minentis ruinae infortunio libera, nee illas scelestas 
feminas, quas tibi post internecivum odium et calcata 
sanguinis foedera sorores appellare non licet, vel 
videas vel audias, cum in morem Sirenum scopulo 
promiiientes funestis vocibus saxa personabunt.' 
13 "Suscipit Psyche singultu lacrimoso sermonem in- 
certans : ' lamdudum, quod sciam, fidei atque par- 
ciloquio meo perpendisti documenta, nee eo setius 
approbabitur tibi nunc etiam tirmitas animi mei. Tu 
modo Zephyro nostro rursum praecipe fungatur 
obsequio, et in vicem denegatae sacrosanctae ima- 

i) is 


she should be honoured as a mother : she reckoned 
and numbered carefully the days and months that 
passed, and being never with child before, did marvel 
greatly that her belly should swell so big from so 
small a beginning. 

" But those pestilent and wicked furies, breathing 
out their serpentine poison, were hastening with 
wicked speed to bring their enterprise to pass. Then 
Psyche was warned again by her husband, while he 
briefly tarried with her, in this sort : ' Behold the 
last day and the extreme case. The enemies of thy 
own sex and blood have armed themselves against us, 
pitched their camps, set their host in array, sounded 
for advance, and are now marching towards us, 
for thy two sisters have drawn their swords and 
are ready to slay thee. Oh with what force and 
slaughter are we assailed this day, sweet Psyche : I 
pray thee to take pity on thyself, and on me, 
keep a seal on thy lips, and deliver thy husband, 
and thyself, and this infant within thy belly from 
so great and imminent a danger, and see not 
neither hear these cursed women, which are not 
worthy to be called thy sisters, for their great and 
murderous hatred, and breach of sisterly amity, for 
they will come (like Sirens) to the mountain, and 
yield out therein their piteous and lamentable 

" When Psyche had heard these words, she sighed 
sorrowfully and said : ' O dear husband, this long 
time you have had experience and trial of my faith 
and my silence, and doubt you not but that I will 
persevere in the same stedfastness of mind : where- 
fore command you our servant Zephyrus that he may 
do as he hath done before, to the intent that instead 
of your form that you have forbidden me to see, yet 


ginis tuae redde saltern conspectum sororum. Per 
istos cinnameos et undique pendulos crines tuos, per 
teneras et teretes et mei similes genas, per pectus 
nescioquo calore fervidum, sic in hoc saltern parvulo 
cognoscam faciem tuam : supplicis anxiae piis pre- 
cibus erogatus germani complexus indulge fructum 
et tibi devotae Psychae animam gaudio recrea. Nee 
quicquam amplius in tuo vultu require, iam nil 
officiunt mihi vel ipsae nocturnae tenebrae : teneo te 
meum lumen.' His verbis et amplexibus mollibus 
decantatus maritus, lacrimasque eius suis crinibus 
detergens, se facturum spopondit et praevertit statim 
lumen nascentis diei. 

14 " lugum sororium consponsae factionis, ne parenti- 
bus quidem visis, recta de navibus scopulum petunt 
ilium praecipiti cum velocitate, nee venti ferentis 
oppertae praesentiam, licentiosa cum temeritate 
prosiliunt in altum. Nee immemor Zephyrus regalis 
edicti, quamvis invitus, susceptas eas gremio spirantis 
aurae solo reddidit. At illae incunctatae statim 
conferto vestigio domum penetrant, complexaeque 
praedam suam sorores nomine mentientes thesau- 
rumque penitus abditae fraudis vultu laeto tegentes, 
sic adulant : ' Psyche, non ita ut pridem parvula, et ipsa 
iam mater es. Quantum, putas, boni nobis in ista 


I may comfort myself with the sight of my sisters. 
I pray you by this lovely and fragrant hair of yours 
that hangs down, by these round cheeks, delicate 
and tender like mine own, by your pleasant warm 
breast, by that shape and face that I shall learn at 
length by the child in my belly, hear the solemn 
prayer of my anxious beseeching, grant the fruit of 
my desire that I may embrace my sisters, refresh 
your dear spouse Psyche with joy, who is bound and 
linked unto you for ever. I little esteem to see your 
visage and figure, little do I regard the night and 
darkness, for I hold you in my arms, my only light.' 
Her husband (being as it were enchanted with these 
words, and compelled by violence of her often em- 
bracing, wiping away her tears with his hair) did 
yield unto his wife, and promised that which she 
desired, and before morning was come departed as 
he accustomed to do. 

" Now her sisters, their plot well compacted, 
arrived on land, and without even visiting of their 
father and mother never rested till they came to 
the rock, and there leaped down rashly from the 
hill themselves, waiting not for the breeze that was 
to bear them ; forgat not then Zephyrus the divine 
commandment, and brought them down in the bosom 
of the wind (though it were against his will) and 
laid them in the valley without any harm. By and 
by they went into the palace to their sister without 
leave, and when they had eftsoons embraced their 
prey, falsely assuming the shew of sisters, and hiding 
the store of their malice beneath a smiling face, with 
flattering words they said: 'O dear sister Psyche, 
know you that you are now no more so slim and 
slender, but already almost a mother ? O what 
great joy bear you unto us in your belly ! What 


geris perula, quantis gaudiis totam domum nostram 
hilarabis ! O nos beatas quas infantis aurei nutri- 
menta laetabunt ! Qui si parentum, ut oportet, 
pulchritudini respondent, prorsus Cupido nascetur.' 

15 " Sic affectione simulata paulatim sororis inva- 
dunt animum ; statimque eas lassitudine viae sedili- 
bus refotas et balnearum vaporosis fontibus curatas 
pulcherrime triclinio mirisque illis et beatis edulibus 
atque tuccetis oblectat. lubet citharam loqui, psalli- 
tur ; tibias agere, sonatur ; chores canere, cantatur : 
quae cuncta nullo praesente dulcissiinis modulis ani- 
mos audientium remulcebant. Nee tamen sceles- 
tarum feminarum nequitia vel ipsa mellita cantus 
dulcedine mollita conquievit, sed ad destinatam 
fraudium pedicam sermonem conferentes dissimu- 
lanter occipiunt sciscitari qualis ei maritus et unde 
natalium, secta cuia proveniret. Tune ilia simpli- 
citate nimia pristini sermonis oblita, novum com- 
mentum instruit atque maritum suum de provincia 
proxima magnis pecuniis negotiantem iam medium 
cursum aetatis agere, interspersum rara canitie. 
Nee in sermone isto tantillum morata rursum 
opiparis muneribus eas onustas ventoso vehiculo 

16 "Sed dum Zephyri tranquillo spiritu sublimatae 
domum redeunt, sic secum altercantes : ' Quid, soror, 
dicimus de tam monstruoso fatuae illius mendacio ? 


a comfort will it be unto all the house ! How happy 
shall we be that shall see this golden infant increase 
and grow ! who, if he be like his parents in beauty, 
as it is necessary he should, there is no doubt but a 
new Cupid shajl be born.' 

" By this kind of pretended love they went about 
to win Psyche by little and little ; but because they 
were weary with travel, they sat them down in chairs, 
and after that they had washed their bodies in warm 
and pleasant baths, they went into a parlour, where 
all those wonderful meats and goodly haggis were 
ready prepared. Psyche commanded the harp to play, 
and it was done ; the flute to sound, and so it was ; 
to make a quire, and song brake forth : but no 
person was seen, by whose sweet harmony and modu- 
lation the sisters of Psyche were greatly delighted. 
Howbeit the wickedness of these cursed women was 
nothing suppressed by the sweet and honeyed noise 
of these instruments, but they settled themselves to 
work their treason and snare against Psyche, de- 
manding with guile who was her husband, and of 
what parentage or race he was : then she (having 
forgotten, by too much simplicity, that which she had 
before spoken of her husband) invented a new answer, 
and said that her husband was of a near province, a 
merchant in great affairs, and a man of a middle age, 
having his head interspersed with a few grey hairs ; 
which when she had shortly said (because she would 
have no further talk) she filled their lap full of the 
richest gifts, and bade them again be borne away 
of the wind. 

" In their return homeward, carried aloft by the 
gentle breath of Zephyrus, they murmured with 
themselves, saying : ' How say you, sister, to so great 
and apparent a lie of doting Psyche ? For first she 


Tune adolescens modo florenti lanugine barbam in- 
struens, nunc aetate media candenti canitie lucidus : 
quis ille quern temporis modici spatium repentina se- 
necta reformavit ? Nil aliud repperies,, mi soror, 
quam vel mendacio istam pessimam feminam con- 
fingere vel formam mariti sui nescire ; quorum utrum 
verum est, opibus istis quam primum exterminanda 
est. Quod si viri sui faciem ignorat, deo profecto 
denupsit et deum nobis praegnatione ista gerit. 
Certe si divini puelli quod absit haec mater 
audierit, statim me laqueo nexili suspendam. Ergo 
interim ad parentes nostros redeamus, et exordio 
sermonis huius quam concolores fallacias attexa- 

17 " Sic inflammatae, parentibus fastidienter appel- 
latis et nocte turbata vigiliis, perditae matutino 
scopulum pervolant et inde solito venti praesidio 
vehementer devolant, lacrimisque pressura palpe- 
brarum coactis, hoc astu puellam appellant : ' Tu 
quidem felix et ipsa tanti mali ignorantia beata 
sedes incuriosa periculi tui ; nos autem, quae pervigili 
cura rebus tuis excubamus, cladibus tuis misere 
cruciamur. Pro vero namque comperimus nee te, 
sociae scilicet doloris casusque tui,celare possumus im- 
manem colubrum multinodis voluminibus serpentem, 
veneno noxio colla sanguiiiantem hiantemque ingluvie 
profunda, tecum noctibus latenter acquiescere. Nunc 
recordare sortis Pythicae, quae te trucis bestiae 
nuptiis destinatam esse clamavit : et multi coloni, 


said that her husband was a young man with the 
down of his chin but just beginning to spring, and 
now she saith that he hath a head half grey with 
age : what is he that in so short space can suddenly 
become so old ? You shall find it no otherwise, my 
sister, but that either this cursed quean hath invented 
a great lie or else that she never saw the shape of 
her husband : and whichever be true, we must, as 
soon as may be, drive her forth from that rich estate 
of hers. And if it be so that she never saw him, 
then verily she is married to some god, and hath a 
young god for us in her belly ; but if it be a divine 
babe of the which she shall soon be called the 
mother (as God forbid it should) then may I go and 
hang myself : wherefore let us go now to our parents, 
and with such forged lies as this let us colour the 

" After they were thus inflamed and had proudly 
visited their parents, having passed the night in 
fitful watchings, they returned again to the mountain, 
and by the aid of the wind Zephyrus were carried 
down into the valley ; and after they had strained 
their eyelids to enforce themselves to weep, they 
called unto Psyche in this sort : ' Thou (ignorant of 
so great evil) thinkest thyself sure and happy, and 
sittest at home nothing regarding thy peril, whereas 
we go about thy affairs, and are exceeding sorry for 
the harm that shall happen unto thee : for we are 
credibly informed, neither can we but utter it unto 
thee, that are the companions of thy grief and 
mishap, that there is a great serpent of many coils, 
full of deadly poison, with a ravenous and gaping 
throat, that lieth with thee secretly every night. 
Remember the oracle of Apollo, who pronounced 
that thou shouldest be married to a dire and fierce 
P 225 

quique circumsecus venantur, et accolae plurimi 
viderunt eum vespera redeuntem e pastu proximique 

18 flurainis vadis innatantem. Nee diu blandis alimoni- 
arum obsequiis te saginaturum omnes affirmant, sed 
cum primum praegnationem tuamplenus maturaverit 
uterus, opimiore fructu praeditam devoraturum. Ad 
haec iam tua est existimatio, utrum sororibus pro tua 
cara salute sollicitis assentiri velis et declinata morte 
nobiscum secura periculi vivere, an saevissimae 
bestiae sepeliri visceribus : quod si te ruris huius 
vocalis solitude vel clandestinae Veneris faetidi peri- 
culosique concubitus et venenati serpentis amplexus 
delectant, certe piae sorores nostrum fecerimus.' 

" Tune Psyche misella, utpote simplex et animi 
tenella, rapitur verborum tarn tristium formidine : 
extra terminum mentis suae posita prorsus omnium 
mariti monitionum suarumque promissionum me- 
moriam efFudit et in profundum calamitatis sese 
praecipitavit, tremensque et exsangui colore lurida 
tertiata verba semihianti voce substrepens sic ad illas 

19 ait : ' Vos quidem, carissimae sorores, ut par erat, in 
officio vestrae pietatis permanetis, verum et illi qui 
talia vobis affirmant non videntur mihi mendacium 
fingere : nee enim unquam viri mei vidi faciem vel 
omnino cuiatis sit novi, sed tantum nocturnis sub- 
audiens vocibus maritum incerti status et prorsus 
lucifugam tolero, bestiamque aliquam recte dicenti- 
bus vobis merito consentio : meque magnopere 



beast ; and many of the inhabitants hereby, and such 
as hunt about in the country, affirm that they have 
seen him towards evening returning from pasture and 
swimming over the river : whereby they do un- 
doubtedly say that he will not pamper thee long 
with delicate meats, but when the time of delivery 
shall approach, he will devour both thee and thy child 
as a more tender morsel. Wherefore advise thyself, 
whether thou wilt agree unto us that are careful for 
thy safety, and so avoid the peril of death, and be 
contented to live with thy sisters, or whether thou 
wilt remain with the most cruel serpent, and in the 
end be swallowed into the gulf of his body. And if 
it be so that thy solitary life, thy conversation with 
voices, and this servile and dangerous pleasure, that 
is the secret and filthy love of the poisonous serpent, 
do more delight thee ; say not but that we have 
played the parts of natural sisters in warning thee.' 
"Then the poor simple Psyche was moved with 
the fear of so dreadful words, and (being amazed in 
her mind) did clean forget the admonitions of her 
husband and her own promises made unto him. And 
(throwing herself headlong into extreme misery) with 
a wan and sallow countenance, scantly uttering and 
stammering forth her words, at length began to say 
in this sort : ' O my most dear sisters, I heartily thank 
you for your great kindness towards me, and I am 
now verily persuaded that they which have told 
you hereof, have told you of nothing but truth, 
for I never saw the shape of my husband, neither 
know I from whence he came ; only I hear his voice 
in the night, in so much that I have an unknown 
husband, and one that loveth not the light of the 
day ; which causeth me to suspect that he is some 
beast as you affirm. Moreover I do greatly fear to 



semper a suis terret aspectibus, malumque grande de 
vultus curiositate praeminatur. Nunc si quam 
salutarem opem periclitanti sorori vestrae potestis 
afferre, lain nunc subsistite ; ceterum incuria sequens 
prioris providentiae beneficia corrumpet.' 

"Tune nanctae iam portis patentibus nudatum 
sororis animum facinerosae mulieres, omissis tectae 
machinae latibulis, destrictis gladiis fraudium sim- 

20 plicis puellae paventes cogitationes invadunt. Sic 
denique altera : ' Quoniam nos originis nexus pro tua 
incolumitate periculum quidem nullum ante oculos 
habere compellit, viam quae sola deducit iter ad salu- 
tem diu diuque cogitatam monstrabimus tibi. Nova- 
culam praeacutam, appulsu etiam palmulae lenientis 
exasperatain, tori quaparte cubare consuesti latenter 
absconde lucernamque concinnem completam oleo, 
claro lumine praemicantem subde aliquo claudentis 
aululae tegrnine, omnique isto apparatu tenacissime 
dissimulate, postquam sulcatos intrahens gressus 
cubile solitum conscenderit iamque porrectus et 
exordio somui prementis implicitus alturn soporem 
flare coeperit, toro delapsa nudoque vestigio pen- 
silem gradum pullulatim minuens, caecae tenebrae 
custodia liberata lucerna, praeclari tui facinoris oppor- 
tunitatem de luminis consilio mutuare et ancipiti 
telo illo audaciter, prius dextera sursum elata, nisu 
quam valido noxii serpentis noclum cervicis et capi- 
tis abscinde. Nee nostrum tibi deerit subsidium, sed 
cum primurn illius morte salutem tibi feceris^ anxiae 
praestolabimur, cunctisque istis ocius tecum relatis, 

21 votivis nuptiis hominem te iungemus homini.' Tali 
verborum incendio flammata viscera sororis iam pror- 


see him, for he doth menace and threaten great evil 
unto me, if I should go about to spy, and behold his 
shape ; wherefore, my loving sisters, if you have any 
wholesome remedy for your sister in danger, give it 
now presently : for if ye be now careless so to do, 
ye will make of none effect the kindness of your 
watchfulness that was before.' 

" Then those wicked women, opening the gates of 
their sister's heart, did putawaynowall privy guile,and 
egged her forward in her fearful thoughts, drawing 
openly the sword of deceit, and persuading her to 
do as they would have her; and one of them began 
and said: 'Because that we, obliged by our kinship 
with you, little esteem any peril or danger to save 
your life, we intend to shew you the best way and 
means to safety as we may possibly do, and we have 
long thought thereon. Take a sharp razor, whetted 
upon the palm of your hand to its finest edge, and 
put it under the pillow of your bed, and see that you 
have ready a privy burning lamp with oil, hid under 
some part of the hanging of the chamber ; and (finely 
dissimulating all the matter) when, according to his 
custom, he cometh to bed and stretcheth him fully 
out and sleepeth soundly, breathing deep, arise you 
secretly, and with your ban- feet treading a-tiptoe. go 
and take your lamp, with the razor lifted high in 
your right hand, from the ward of its hiding-place 
that you may borrow from its light the occasion of a 
bold deed, and with valiant force cut off the head of 
the poisonous serpent at the knot of his neck : 
wherein we will aid and assist you, and when by the 
death of him you shall be made safe, we will bring 
quickly away all these riches and marry you, that are 
a woman, to some comely man, and no beast.' After 
they had thus inflamed the heart of their sifter, who 


sus ardentis deserentes ipsae protinus, tanti mali 
confinium sibi etiam eximie metuentes, flatus alitis im- 
pulsu solito porrectae super scopulum, illico pernici se 
fuga proripiunt statimque conscensis navibus abeunt. 
"At Psyche relicta sola, nisi quod infestis furiis 
agitata sola non est, aestu pelagi simile maerendo 
fluctuat, et quamvis statute consilio et obstinato 
animo, iam tamen facinori manus admovens adhuc 
incerta consilii titubat multisque calamitatis suae dis- 
trahitur afFectibus. Festinat, difFert ; audet, trepi- 
dat ; diffidit, irascitur ; et, quod est ultimum, in 
eodem corpore odit bestiam, diligit maritum. Ves- 
pera tamen iam noctem trahente praecipiti festina- 
tione nefarii sceleris instruit apparatum : nox aderat 
et maritus aderat priusque Veneris proeliis velitatus 
22 altum soporem descenderat. Tune Psyche, et cor- 
poris et animi alioquin infirma, fati tamen saevitia 
subministrante viribus roboratur, et prolata lucerna 
et arrepta novacula sexum audacia mutatur. Sed 
cum primum lumiiiis oblatione tori secreta clarue- 
runt, videt omnium ferarum mitissiraam dulcissi- 
mamque bestiam, ipsum ilium Cupidinem formosum 
deum formose cubantem, cuius aspectu lucernae quo- 
que lumen hilaratum increbruit et acuminis sacrilegi 
novaculam paenitebat. At vero Psyche tanto aspectu 
deterrita et impos animi, marcido pallore defecta 
tremensque desedit in imos poplites et ferrum quaerit 
abscondere, sed in suo pectore : quod profecto fecis- 
setj nisi ferrum timore tanti flagitii manibus teme- 


was already alight (fearing lest some danger might 
happen unto them by reason of their privity in so 
wicked a deed) they left her and were carried by the 
wind Zephyrus to the top of the mountain, and so 
they ran away, and took shipping. 

"When Psyche was left alone (saving that she 
seemed not to be alone, being stirred by so many 
furies) she was in a tossing mind, like the waves of 
the sea, and although her will was obstinate and 
fixed to put in execution the counsel of her sisters, 
yet when she was now ready to do the deed, she was 
in doubtful and divers opinions touching her calamity. 
Sometimes she would, sometimes she would not, 
sometimes she is bold, sometimes she feareth, some- 
times she mistrusteth, sometimes she is moved, and 
at last in one person she hateth the beast and 
loveth her husband ; but at length the evening came, 
when she made preparation for her wicked intent. 
Then was it night, and soon after her husband came, 
and when he had kissed and embraced her he fell 
asleep : then Psyche (somewhat feeble in body and 
mind, yet strengthened by cruelty of fate) received 
boldness and brought forth the lamp, and took the 
razor, so that by her audacity she changed herself to 
masculine kind. But when she took the lamp and 
the secret parts of the bed were made light, she saw 
the most meek and sweetest beast of all beasts, even 
fair Cupid, couched fairly, at whose sight the very 
lamp increased its light for joy, and the razor turned 
its edge. But when Psyche saw so glorious a body, 
she greatly feared, and amazed in mind, with a pale 
countenance, all trembling, fell on her knees, and 
thought to hide the razor, yea verily in her own 
heart ; which she had undoubtedly done, had it not, 
through fear of so wicked an enterprise, fallen out of 



rariis delapsum evolasset. lamque lassa, salute de- 
fecta dum saepius divini vultus intuetur pulchritu- 
dinem, recreatur animi : videt capitis aurei genialem 
caesariem ambrosia temulentam, cervices lacteas 
genasque purpureas pererrantes crinium globos de- 
coriter impeditos, alios antependulos, alios retropen- 
dulos, quorum splendore nimio fulgurante iam et 
ipsum lumen lucernae vacillabat : per humeros vola- 
talis dei pinnae roscidae micanti flore candicant et 
quamvis alis quiescentibus extimae plumulae tenellae 
ac delicatae tremule resultantes inquieta lasciviunt : 
ceterum corpus glabellum atque luculentum et quale 
peperisse Venevem non paeniteret. Ante lectuli pedes 
iacebat arcus et pharetra et sagittae, magni dei pro- 
23 pitia tela ; quae dum insatiabili animo Psyche, satis 
et curiosa^ rimatur atque pertrectat et mariti sui 
miratur arma, depromit unam de pharetra sagittam et 
puncto pollicis extremam aciem periclitabunda tre- 
rnentis etiam nunc articuli nisu fortiore pupugit 
altius, ut per summam cutem roraverint parvulae 
sanguinis rosei guttae : sic ignara Psyche sponte in 
Amoris incidit amorem. Tune magis magisque cupi- 
dine flagrans Cupidiiiis, prona in eum efflictim inhians, 
patulis ac petulantibus saviis festinanter ingestis, de 
somni mensura metuebat. 

" Sed dum bono tanto percita saucia mente fluctuat, 
lucerna illa^ sive perfidia pessima sive invidia noxia 
sive quod tale corpus contingere et quasi basiare et 
ipsa gestiebat, evomuit de summa luminis sui stillam 
ferventis olei super humerum dei dexterum : hem 
audax ettemeraria lucerna et amoris vile ministerium, 
ipsum ignis totius deum aduris, cum te, scilicet 


her rash and hasty hands. And now she was faint 
and had lost her strength, but when she saw and 
beheld the beauty of his divine visage, she was well 
recreated in her mind ; she saw his hairs of gold, 
that were drenched with ambrosia and yielded out a 
sweet savour thereof; his neck more white than 
milk ; his ruddy cheeks upon which his hair hanged 
comely behind and before, the brightness whereof 
did darken the light of the lamp ; the tender plume 
feathers of that flying god dispersed upon his 
shoulders with shining gleam, and though his wings 
were at rest, the tender down of their edges 
trembling hither and thither, and the other parts of 
his body so smooth and soft that it could not repent 
Venus to bear such a child. At the bed's feet lay 
his bow, quiver and arrows that be the gentle weapons 
of so great a god : which when Psyche did curiously 
behold, and marvelling at the weapons of her hus- 
band took one of the arrows out of the quiver, and 
trying the sharpness thereof with her finger, she 
pricked herself withal : wherewith she was so 
grievously wounded that some little drops of blood 
followed, and thereby of her own accord she fell in 
love with Love. Then more and more broiling in 
the love of Cupid, she embraced him and kissed him 
a thousand times, fearing the measure of his sleep. 

" But alas, while she was in this great joy, and her 
spirit languished and wavered, whether it were for 
foul envy, or for desire to touch this amiable body 
likewise, there fell out a drop of burning oil from 
the lamp upon the right shoulder of the god. O 
rash and bold lamp, the vile ministry of love, how 
darest thou be so bold as to burn the god of all fire, 
when surely some lover invented thee, to the intent 
that he might with more joy pass the nights in 



amator aliquis, ut diutius cupitis etiam nocte potiretur, 
primus invenerit ! Sic inustus exiluit deus visaque 
detectae fidei colluvie prorsus ex osculis et manibus 

24- infelicissimae coniugis tacitus avolavit : at Psyche 
statim resurgentis eius crure dextero raanibus am- 
babus arrepto, sublimis evectionis appendix miseranda 
et per nubilas plagas penduli corrntatus extrema 
consequia tandem fessa delabitur solo. Nee deus 
amator humi iacentem deserens, involavit proximam 
cupressum deque eius alto cacumine sic earn graviter 
commotus affatur : 'Ego quidem, simplicissima Psyche, 
parentis meae Veneris praceptorum immemor, quae 
te miseri extremique hominis devinctam cupidine 
infimo matrimonio addici iusserat, ipse potius amator 
advolavi tibi. Sed hoc feci leviter, scio, et prae- 
clarus ille Sagittarius ipse me telo meo percussi teque 
coniugem meam feci, ut bestia scilicet tibi viderer et 
ferro caput excideres meum, quod istos amatores tuos 
oculos gerit ! Haec tibi semper cavenda censebam, 
haec benivole remonebam. Sed illae quidem con- 
siliatrices egregiae tuae tarn perniciosi magisterii 
dabunt actutum mihi poenas : te vero tantum fuga 
mea punivero ' ; et cum termino sermonis pinnis in 
altum se proripuit. 

25 " Psyche vero humi prostrata et quantum visu 
poterat volatus mariti prospiciens extremis affligebat 
lamentationibus animum. Sed ubi remigio plumae 
raptum maritum proceritas spatii fecerat alienum, per 
proximi fluminis marginem praecipitem sese dedit : 


pleasure .? The god being burned in this sort, and 
perceiving that promise and faith was broken, he 
fled away without utterance of any word from the 
kisses and hands of his most unhappy wife. But 
Psyche fortuned to catch him as he was rising by 
the right thigh with both hands, and held him fast 
as he flew about in the air, hanging to him (poor 
wretch) through his cloudy journey, until such time 
that, constrained by weariness, she let go and fell 
down upon the ground : but Cupid left her not 
altogether, but followed her down and lighted upon 
the top of a cypress-tree, and angrily spake unto her 
in this manner : ' O simple Psyche, consider with 
thyself, how I (little regarding the commandment of 
my mother, who willed me that thou shouldest be 
married to a man of base and miserable condition) 
did come myself from heaven to love thee. This 
have I very wantonly done, I know (and I have 
wounded mine own body with my proper weapon) 
to have thee to my spouse, and did I seem a beast 
unto thee, that thou shouldest go about to cut oft' 
my head with a razor, yea this head with its eyes 
that love thee so well ? Did not I always give thee 
in charge against this danger? Did not I gently 
will thee to beware ? But those cursed aiders and 
counsellors of thine shall be worthily rewarded for 
their pains. As for thee, thou shalt be sufficiently 
punished by my absence.' And when he had spoken 
these words he took his flight into the air. 

" Then Psyche fell flat on the ground, and as long 
as she might see her husband, she cast her eyes after 
him into the air, weeping and lamenting piteously : 
but when he was flown clean away out of her sight, 
she threw herself into the next running river, for 
the great anguish and dolour that she was in, for 



sed mitis fluvius in honorem del scilicet, qui et ipsas 
aquas urere consuevit, metuens sibi confestim earn 
innoxio volumine super ripam florentem herbis ex- 
posuit. Tune forte Pan deus rusticus iuxta super- 
cilium amnis sedebat, complexus Echo montanam 
deam eamque voculas omnimodas edocens recinere ; 
proxime ripam vago pastu lasciviunt, comam fluvii 
tondentes, capellae. Hircuosus deus sauciam Psy- 
chen atque defectam, utcumque casus eius non inscius, 
clementer ad se vocatam sic permulcet verbis lenien- 
tibus : ' Puella scitula, sum quidem rusticanus et 
upilio, sed senectutis prolixae beneficio multis ex- 
perimentis instructus. Verum si recte coniecto, quod 
profecto prudentes viri divinationem autumant, ab 
isto titubante et saepius vacillante vestigio deque 
nimio pallore corporis et assiduo suspiritu, immo et 
ipsis marcentibus oculis tuis, amore nimio laboras. 
Ergo mihi ausculta, nee te rursus praecipitio vel ullo 
mortis accersitae genere perimas. Luctum desine et 
pone maerorem precibusque potius Cupidinem deorum 
maximum percole, et utpote adolescentem delicatum 
luxuriosumque blandis obsequiis promerere.' 
26 " Sic locuto deo pastore, nulloque sermone reddito 
sed adorato tantum numine salutari, Psyche pergit 
ire. Sed cum aliquam multum viae laboranti ves- 
tigio pererrasset, inscio quodam tramite, iam die 
labente, accedit quandam civitatem^ in qua regnum 
maritus unius sororis eius obtinebat. Qua re cognita 
Psyche nuntiari praesentiam suam sorori desiderat ; 


the lack of her husband ; howbeit the gentle water 
would not suffer her to be drowned, but took pity 
upon her, in the honour of Cupid which accustomed 
to broil and burn the very river, and so fearing for 
himself would not harm her, but threw her upon the 
bank amongst the herbs. Then Pan the rustical god 
was sitting on the river-side, embracing and teaching 
the goddess Echo of the mountains to tune her songs 
and pipes, by whom were feeding upon the grass of 
the margin the young and tender goats ; and after 
that this goat-footed god perceived poor Psyche in 
so sorrowful case, not ignorant (I know not by what 
means) of her miserable estate, he called her gently 
beside him and endeavoured to pacify her in this 
sort : ' O fair maid, I am a rustic and rude herds- 
man, howbeit (by reason of my old age) expert in 
many things ; tor as far as I can learn by conjecture, 
which (according as wise men do term) is called 
divination, I perceive by your uncertain and trem- 
bling gait, your pale hue, your sobbing sighs, aye 
and your watery eyes, that you are greatly in love. 
Wherefore, hearken to me, and go not about to slay 
yourself, nor weep not at all, but rather adore and 
worship the great god Cupid, and win him unto you, 
that is a delicate and wanton youth, by your gentle 
promise of service.' 

" When the god of shepherds had spoken these 
words, she gave no answer, but made reverence unto 
him as to a god, and so departed : and after that she 
had gone more than a little way with weary feet, she 
fortuned unawares to take a certain path, and towards 
evening to come to a city where the husband of one of 
her sisters did reign ; which when Psyche did under- 
stand, she caused that her sister had knowledge of 
her coming. And so they met together, and aftt 


mox inducta, mutuis amplexibus alternae salutationis 
expletis, percontanti causas adventus sui sic incipit : 
'* Meministi consilium vestrum, scilicet quo mihi sua- 
sistis ut bestiam, quae mariti mentito nomine mecum 
quiescebat, prius quam ingluvie voraci me misellam 
hauriret, ancipiti novacula peremerem ? Sed cum 
primum, ut aeque placuerat, conscio lumine vultus 
eius aspexi, video mirum divinumque prorsus specta- 
culum ; ipsum ilium deae Veneris filium, ipsum in- 
.quam Cupidinem leni quiete sopitum. Ac dum tanti 
boni spectaculo percita et nimia voluptatis copia tur- 
bata fruendi laborarem inopia, casu scilicet pessimo 
lucerna fervens oleum rebullivit in eius humerum. 
Quo dolore statim somno recussus, ubi me ferro et 
igni conspexit armatam, " Tu quidem " inquit "Ob 
istud tarn dirum facinus confestim toro meo divorte 
tibique res tuas habeto, ego vero sororem tuam "- 
et nomen quo tu censeris aiebat " lam mihi con- 
festim farreatis nuptiis coniugabo/' et statim Zephyro 
praecipit ultra terminos me dornus eius efflaret.' 
27 " Necdum sermonem Psyche finierat ; ilia vesanae 
libidinis et invidiae noxiae stimulis agitata, e re con- 
cinnato mendacio fallens maritum, quasi de morte 
parentum aliquid comperisset, statim navem ascendit 
et ad ilium scopulum protinus pergit, et quam vis alio 
flante vento, caeca spe tamen inhians, ' Accipe me ' 
dicens ' Cupido, dignam te coniugem et tu, Zephyre, 


great embracing and salutation the sister of Psyche 
demanded the cause of her travel thither. ' Marry/ 
quoth she, ' Do not you remember the counsel that 
you gave me, whereby you would that I should kill 
with a razor the beast,who under colour of my husband 
did lie with me every night, before he should utterly 
devour miserable me ? You shall understand that 
as soon as, by thy further advice, I brought forth 
the lamp to see and behold his shape, I perceived a 
wonderful and even a divine sight ; for it was the 
son of Venus, even Cupid himself, that lay softly 
asleep. Then I, being stricken with the sight of 
so great pleasure, and distraught by exceeding 
great joy, could not thoroughly assuage my delight, 
but, alas (by evil chance) the boiling oil of the lamp 
fortuned to fall on his shoulder, which caused him to 
awake ; and he, aroused by the pain thereof, seeing 
me armed with fire and weapon, began to say : " How 
darest thou be so bold as to do so great a mischief? 
Depart from me, and take such things as thou diddest 
bring: 1 for I will have thy sister " (and named you) 
" to my wife, and she shall be joined in true wedlock 
with me " ; and by and by he commanded Zephyrus 
to carry me away from the bounds of his house.' 

"Psyche had scantly finished her tale, but her 
sister (pierced with the prick of carnal desire and 
wicked envy) ran home, and feigning to her husband 
with a cunningly made lie that she had heard some- 
what of the death of her parents, took shipping and 
came to the mountain. And although there blew a 
contrary wind, yet being brought in a vain hope, she 
cried : ' O Cupid, take me a more worthy wife, and 

1 The Roman formula of divorce ; and Cupid was to re-marry 
the sister by confarreatio, the solemn and ceremonial tie 
confined to patricians and priests. 



suscipe dominam ! ' saltu se maximo praecipitem dedit. 
Nee tamen ad ilium locum vel saltern mortua perve- 
nire potuit : nam per saxa cautium membris iactatis 
atque dissipatis et proinde ut merebatur laceratis, 
visceribus suis alitibus bestiisque obvium ferens pabu- 
lum interiit. Nee vindictae sequentis poena tardavit: 
nam Psyche rursus errabundo gradu pervenit ad civi- 
tatem aliam, in qua pari modo soror morabatur alia. 
Nee setius et ipsa fallacie germanitatis inducta, et in 
sororis sceleratas nuptias aemula, festinavit ad scopu- 
lum inque simile mortis exitium cecidit. 
28 " Interim, dum Psyche quaestioni Cupidinis intenta 
populos circumibat, ille vulnere lucernae dolens in 
ipso thalamo matris iacens ingemebat. Tune avis 
peralba ilia gavia, quae super fluctus marinos pinnis 
natat, demergit sese propere ad Oceani profundum 
gremium. Ibi cominodum Venerem lavantem natan- 
temque propter assistens, indicat adustum filium 
eius, gravi vulneris dolore maerentem, dubium 
salutis iacere, iamque per cunctorum ora populorum 
rumoribus conviciisque variis omnem Veneris familiam 
male audire, ' quod ille quidem montano scortatu, 
tu vero marino natatu secesseritis ac per hoc non 
voluptas ulla, non gratia, non lepos, sed incompta et 
agrestia et horrida cuncta sint, non nuptiae con- 
iugales, non amicitiae sociales, non liberum caritates, 
sed enormis eluvies 1 et squalentium foederum insuave 
fastidium.' Haee ilia verbosa et satis curiosa avis in 

1 TheMSS seem to give gluvies or inyluvies. The suggestiou 
of eluvies is due to Beroaldus. 



thou, Zephyrus, bear down thy mistress/ and so she 
cast herself down from the mountain But she fell 
not into the valley neither alive nor dead, for all the 
members and parts of her body were torn amongst 
the rocks,, whereby she was made a prey to the birds 
and wild beasts, as she worthily deserved, and so she 
perished. Neither was the vengeance of the other 
delayed : .for Psyche, travelling with wandering feet, 
fortuned to come to another city,where her other sister 
did dwell; to whom when she had declared all such 
things as she told to her first sister, she also was 
caught in the snare, and being very jealous of her 
marriage, ran likewise unto the rock, and was slain in 
like sort. 

" In the meantime, Psyche travelled about in the 
country to seek her husband Cupid, but he was gotten 
into his mother's chamber, and there bewailed the 
sorrowful wound which he caught by the oil of the 
burning lamp. Then the white bird the gull, which 
swimmeth with his wings over the waves of the water, 
flew down to the Ocean sea, where she found Venus 
washing and bathing herself : to whom she declared 
her son was burned and suffering from a grievous 
wound and in danger of death, and moreover that it 
was a common report in the mouth of every person 
to speak evil of all the family of Venus ; ' Thy son,' 
quoth she, ' Doth nothing but haunt harlots in the 
mountain, and thou thyself dost use to riot on the 
sea, whereby they say there is now nothing any more 
gracious, nothing pleasant, nothing gentle, but all is 
become uncivil, monstrous, and horrible ; moreover, 
there are no more loving marriages, nor friendships 
of amity, nor loving of children, but all is disorderly, 
and there is a very bitter hatred of weddings as base 
things.' This the wordy and curious gull did clatter 



auribus Veneris, filii lacerans existimationem, gannie- 
bat : at Venus irata solidum exclamat repente : " Ergo 
iam ille bonus filius nieus habet amicam aliquam ! 
Prome agedum, quae sola mihi servis amanter, nomen 
eius quae puerum ingenuum et investem sollicitavit, 
sive ilia de Nympharum populo seu de Horarum 
numero seu de Musarum choro vel de mearum Gra- 
tiarum ministerio.' v Nee loquax ilia conticuit avis, 
sed ; ' Nescio ' inquit, ' Domina ; puto puellam ilium 1 
si probe memini, Psyches nomine dicitur efflicte 
cupere.' Tune indignata Venus exclamavit vel 
maxime : ' Psychen ille meae formae succubam, mei 
nominis aemulam si vere diligit, nimirum illud incre- 
mentum lenam me putavit, cuius monstratu puellam 
illam cognosceret.' 

29 " Haec quiritans properiter emergit e mari, suum- 
que protinus aureum thalamum petit, et reperto ; 
sicut audierat, aegroto puero iam inde a foribus 
quam maxine boans, ' Honesta ' inquit ' Haec et 
natalibus nostris bonaeque tuae frugi congruentia, 
ut primum quidem tuae parentis, immo dominae 
praecepta calcares, nee sordidis amoribus inimicam 
meam cruciares, verum etiam hoc aetatis puer tuis 
licentiosis et immaturis iungeres amplexibus, ut ego 
nurum scilicet tolerarem inimicam ! Sed utique 
praesumis, nugo et corruptor et inamabilis, te solum 

i I do not feel absolutely certain that grammar requires the 
subject of cupere to be expressed; but I adopt Kossbach's 
suggestion of the insertion of ilium, which is quite likely to have 
dropped out owing to its resemblance to the last part of the 
preceding word. 



in the ears of Venus, reprehending her son. But 
Venus began to be very angry, and said : ' What, 
hath my son gotten any love ? I pray thee, gentle 
bird, that dost alone serve me so faithfully, tell me 
what she is and what is her name, that hath troubled 
my simple and beardless l son in such sort, whether 
she be any of the tribe of the Nymphs, of the number 
of the Seasons, of the company of the Muses, or of the 
ministry of my Graces ? ' To whom the bird answered 
that could never be silent : ' Madam, I know not 
what she is ; but this I know, that he loveth her 
greatly, and that she is called Psyche.' Then Venus 
with indignation cried out : ' What, is it she ? The 
usurper of my beauty, the vicar of my name ? And 
this is more and worse ; will the brat think that I am 
a bawd, by whose shewing he fell acquainted with 
the maid ? ' 

"Thus she complained, and immediately departed 
and went to her golden chamber, where she found 
her son wounded, as it was told unto her ; whom 
when she beheld she stood at the door and cried out 
very loudly in this sort: 'Is this an honest thing? 
Is this honourable to thy parents and to thine own 
good name ? Is this reason that thou hast first vio- 
lated and broken the commandment of thy mother 
and sovereign mistress ? And whereas thou shouldest 
have vexed my enemy with a loathsome and base 
love, thou hast done contrary : for (being but of 
tender and unripe years) thou hast with too licen- 
tious appetite embraced her, that my most mortal 
foe shall be made a daughter unto me. Thou pre- 
sumest and thinkest (thou trifling boy, thou varlet, 
and without all love) that thou art alone my true 
child, and that I am not able by reason of mine 
1 Lit. " not yet clothed as a man." 



generosum, nee me iam per aetatem posse concipere 1 
velim ergo scias multo te meliorem filium alium 
genituram ; immo, ut contumeliam magis sentias, 
aliquem de meis adoptaturam vernulis eique dona- 
turam istas pinnas et flammas et arcum et ipsas 
sagittas et omnem meam supellectilem,, quam tibi non 
ad hos usus dederam : nee enim de patris tui bonis ad 
30 instructionem istam quicquam concessum est. Sed 
male prima pueritia inductus es et acutas manus 
habes et maiores tuos irreverenter pulsasti totiens et 
ipsam matrem tuam, me inquam ipsam parricida 
denudas cotidie et percussisti saepius et quasi 
viduam utique contemnis, nee vitricum tuum fortissi- 
mum ilium maximumque bellatorem metuis. Quidni ? 
Cui saepius in angorem mei paelicatus puellas pro- 
pinare consuesti. Sed iam faxo te lusus huius pae- 
niteat et sentias acidas et amaras istas nuptias. Sed 
nunc irrisui babita quid agam ? Quo me conferam ? 
Quibus niodis stelionem istum cohibeam ? Petamne 
auxilium ab inimica mea Sobrietate, quam propter 
huius ipsius luxuriam offendi saepius? At rusticae 
squalentisque feminae colloquium prorsus horresco. 
Nee tamen vindictae solacium undeunde spernendum 
est : ilia mihi prorsus adhibenda est nee ulla alia, 
quae castiget asperrime nugonem istum, pharetram 
explicet et sagittas dearmet, arcum enodet, taedam 
deflammet, immo et ipsum corpus eius acrioribus 
remediis coereeat. Tune iniuriae meae litatum credi- 
derim, cum eius comas, quas istis manibus meis 


age to have another son ; but this I could do, and 
thou shouldest well understand that I would bear 
a more worthier than thou: but to work thee a 
greater despite, I do determine to adopt one of my 
servants, and to give him these wings, this fire, this 
bow and-these arrows, and all other furniture which 
I gave to thee, though not for this purpose ; for of 
all this nothing came to thee from thy father to thy 
furnishment. But first thou hast been evil brought 
up and instructed in thy youth : thou hast thy hands 
ready and sharp : thou hast often most rudely struck 
and beaten thy ancients, and especially thy own 
mother, myself I say, thou hast robbed me daily, 
thou very parricide, and hast pierced me with thy 
darts, thou contemnest me as a widow, neither dost 
thou regard thy valiant and invincible stepfather, 
but to anger me more thou settest him after wenches 
that I may be jealous : but I will cause that thou 
shalt shortly repent thee of this sport, and that this 
marriage shall be bitter to thee and dearly bought. 
To what a public scorn am I now driven ? What 
shall 1 do? Whither shall I go? How shall I 
repress this beast ? Shall I ask aid of mine enemy 
Sobriety, whom I have often offended because of 
thy wantonness ? But I hate to seek for counsel 
from so poor and rustical a woman. No, no, how- 
beit I will not cease from my vengonce, whence- 
soever it cometh ; to her must I have recourse for 
help, and to none other (I mean to Sobriety) who may 
correct sharply this trifler, take away his quiver, 
deprive him of his arrows, unbend his bow, quench 
his fire, and subdue his body with punishment still 
more bitter ; and when that she hath razed and cut off 
this his hair, which I have dressed with mine own 
hands and made to glitter like gold, and when 

2 J > 


subinde aureo nitore perstrinxi, deraserit ; pinnas, 
quas meo gremio uectarei fontis infeci, praetoton- 

31 " Sic eflfata foras sese proripit infesta et sto- 
machata biles Venerias. Sed earn protinus Ceres et 
luno continuantur visamque vultu tumido quaesiere 
cur truci supercilio tantam venustatem micantium 
oculorum coerceret. At ilia ( Opportune ' inquit 
' Ardenti prorsus isto meo pectori violentiam scilicet 
perpetraturae venitis. Sed totis, oro, vestris viribus 
Psychen illam fugitivam volaticam mihi requirite. 
Nee enim vos utique domus meae famosa fabula et 
non dicendi filii mei facta latuerunt.' Tune illae non 1 
ignarae, quae gesta sunt, palpare Veneris iram sae- 
vientem sic adortae : ' Quid tale, domina, deliquit 
tuus filius ut animo pervicaci voluptates illius im- 
pugnes, et quam ille diligit tu quoque perdere ges- 
tias ? Quod autern, oramus, isti crimen si puellae 
lepidae libenter arrisit ? An ignoras eum masculum 
et iuvenem esse, vel certe iam quot sit annorura oblita 
es ? An quod aetatem portat bellule, puer tibi 
semper videtur ? Mater autem tu et praeterea cor- 
data mulier filii tui lusus semper explorabis curiose, 
et in eo luxuriem culpabis et amores revinces et tnas 

* The goddesses did know what had been going on, so that 
it is necessary, as Beroaldus saw, either to insert non before 
ignarae, or to read gnarae. 



she hath clipped his wings which I myself have dyed 
with the immortal fountain of my breast, then shall 
I think to have sufficiently revenged myself for the 
injury which he hath done.' 

" When she had spoken these words she departed 
in a great rage out of her chamber full of the bitter- 
ness of very Venus ; and immediately as she was going 
away, came Juno and Ceres, and seeing her angry 
countenance, they demanded the cause of her anger, 
and why with so gloomy a frown she had dimmed 
the glory of her shining eyes. Then Venus made 
answer : ' Verily you are come in good time to carry 
into effect the purpose of my furious heart; but I 
pray you with all diligence to seek out one whose 
name is Psyche, who is a vagabond, and runneth 
about the countries, and I think you are not ignorant 
of the bruit of my son Cupid, and of his demeanour, 
which I am ashamed to declare.' Then they under- 
standing and knowing the whole matter, endeavoured 
to mitigate the ire of Venus in this sort : 'What is the 
cause, madam, or how hath your son so offended that 
you should so greatly accuse his love, and blame him 
by reason that he is amorous ? And why should you 
seek the death of her whom he doth fancy ? What 
is his fault, we pray, if he have accorded to the 
mind of a fair maiden ? What, do not you know 
that he is a man and a young man ? Or have you 
forgotten of what years he is? Doth he seem 
always to you to be a child because he beareth well 
his age ? You are his mother and a kind and under- 
standing woman ; will you continually search out his 
dalliance? Will you blame his luxury? .Will you 
bridle his'love ? And will you reprehend your own art 
and delights in your lovely son ? What god or man is 
he, that can endure that you should sow or disperse 



artes tuasque delicias in formoso filio reprehendes? 
Quis autem te deum, quis hominum patietur passim 
cupidines populis disseminantem, cum tuae domus 
amoves amai'e coerceas et vitiorum muliebrium 
publicam praeclutlas officinam ? ' Sic illae metu 
sagittarum patrocinio gratioso Cupidini quamvis ab- 
senti blandiebantur. Sed Venus indignata ridicule 
tractari suas iniurias praeversis illis alterorsus concito 
gradu pelago viam capessit. 



your seed of love in every place, and at the same time 
make a restraint of that same love within your own 
doors, and entirely close and shut up that factory 
where the natural faults of women are made ? ' In 
this sort these goddesses endeavoured to excuse 
Cupid with all their power (although he were 
absent) for fear of his dart and shafts of love. " But 
Venus would in no wise assuage her heat, but 
(thinking that they did but trifle and taunt at her 
injuries) she departed from them, and took her 
voyage again towards the sea in all haste. 


1 " INTEREA Psyche variis iactabatur discursibus, dies 
noctesque mariti vestigationibus inquieta animo, 
tanto cupidior iratum licet; si non uxoris blanditiis 
lenire, certe servilibus precibus propitiare. Et 
prospecto tempi o quodam in ardui mentis vertice, 
' Unde autem ' inquit ' Scio an istic meus degat 
dominus ? ' et illico dirigit citatum gradum, quern 
defectum prorsus assiduis laboribus spes incitabat et 
votum. lamque naviter emensis celsioribus iugis 
pulvinaribus sese proximam intulit : videt spicas 
frumentarias in acervo et alias flexiles in corona et 
spicas hordei videt ; erant et falces et operae 
messoriae mundus omniSj sed cuncta passim iacentia 
et incuria confusa et, ut solet aestu, laborantium 
manibus proiecta. Haec singula Psyche curiose 
dividit et discretim remota rite componit, rata scilicet 
nullius dei fana ac caerimonias neglegere se debere 
sed omnium benivolam misericordiam corrogare. 

2 " Haec earn sollicite seduloque curantem Ceres 
alma deprehendit et longum exclamat protinus : 
' Ain, Psyche miseranda ? Totum per orbem Venus 
anxia disquisitione tuum vestigium furens animi re- 
quirit teque ad extremum supplicium expetit et totis 


" IN the mean season Psyche hurled herself hither 
and thither, seeking day and night for her husband 
with unquiet mind, eager the more because she 
thought that if he would not be appeased with the 
sweet flattery of his wife, yet he would take mercy 
upon her at her servile and continual prayers. And 
(espying a church on the top of a high hill) she said : 
' How can I tell whether my husband and master be 
there or no ? ' Wherefore she went swiftly thither- 
ward, and with great pain and travail, yet moved by 
hope and desire, after that she had stoutly climbed 
to the top of the mountain, she went up to the sacred 
couch, where behold, she espied sheaves of corn lying 
on a heap, blades twisted into garlands, and reeds of 
barley ; moreover she saw hooks, scythes, sickles, and 
other instruments to reap, but everything lay out of 
order, and as it were cast down carelessly in the 
summer heat by the hands of labourers ; which when 
Psyche saw, she gathered up and put everything 
duly in order, thinking that she would not despise or 
contemn the temples of any of the gods, but rather 
get the favour and benevolence of them all. 

" By and by Lady Ceres came in and beholding 
her busy and curious in her chapel, cried out afar off 
and said : ' O Psyche, needful of mercy, Venus 
searcheth anxiously for thy steps in every place, 
mad at heart to revenge herself and to punish thee 



numinis sui viribus ultionem flagitat. Tu vero rerum 
mearum tutelam nuiic geris et aliud quicquam cogi- 
tas nisi de tua salute ? ' Tune Psyche pedes eius 
advoluta et uberi fletu rigans deae vestigia humumque 
verrens crinibus suis, multiiugis precibus editis, veniam 
postulabat : ( Per ego te frugiferam tuam dexteram 
istam deprecor, per laetificas messium caerimonias, 
per tacita secreta cistarum et per famulorum tuorum 
draconum pinnata curricula et glebae Siculae sul- 
camina et currum rapacem et terram tenacem et 
iuluminarum Proserpinae nuptiarum demeacula et 
luminosarum filiae inventionum remeacula, et cetera 
quae silentio tegit Eleusinis Atticae sacrarium, 
miserandae Psyches animae, supplicis tuae, subsiste. 
Inter istam spicarum congeriem patere vel paueulos 
dies delitescam, quoad deae tantae saeviens ira spatio 
temporis mitigetur vel certe meae vires diutino labore 
fessae quietis intervallo leniantur.' Suscipit Ceres : 
' Tuis quidem lacrimosis precibus et commoveor et 
opitulari cupio ; sed cognatae meae, cum qua etiam 
foedus antiquum amicitiae colo, bonae praeterea 
feminae, malam gratiam subire nequeo. Decede 
itaque de istis aedibus protinus, et quod a me retenta 
custoditaque non fueris, option consule.' 

"Contra spem suam repulsa Psyche et afflicta 
duplici maestitia iter retrorsum porrigens inter sub- 


grievously with all the power of her godhead, but 
hast thou more mind to be here and to look after my 
affairs, and carest for nothing less than thy safety ? ' 
Then Psyche fell on her knees before her, watering 
her feet with her tears, wiping the ground with her 
hair, and with great weeping and many supplications 
desired pardon, saying : ' O great and holy goddess, 
I pray thee by thy plenteous and liberal right hand, 
by thy joyful ceremonies of harvest, by the secrets of 
thy baskets, by the flying chariots of the dragons thy 
servants, by the tillage of the ground of Sicily which 
thou hast invented, by the chariot of the ravishing 
god/ by the earth that held thy daughter fast, by the 
dark descent to the unillumined marriage of Proser- 
pina, by thy diligent inquisition of her and thy bright 
return, and by the other secrets which are concealed 
within the temple of Eleusis in the land of Athens, 
take pity on me thy servant Psyche, and help my 
miserable soul, and let me hide myself a few days 
amongst these sheaves of corn until the ire of so great 
a goddess be past, or until that I be refreshed of 
my great labour and travail.' Then answered Ceres : 
' Verily, Psyche, I am greatly moved by thy prayers 
and tears, and desire with all my heart to aid thee, 
but if I should suffer thee to be hidden here, 1 should 
incur the displeasure of my good cousin, with whom 
I have made a treaty of peace and an ancient 
promise of amity : wherefore I advise thee to depart 
from this my temple, and take it in good part in that 
I do not keep and guard thee as a prisoner here.' 

" Then Psyche driven away, contrary to her hope, 
was doubly afflicted with sorrow, and so she returned 
back ag-ain : and behold, she perceived afar off in a 

l Pluto, who carried off Proserpina to Hell from the plains 
of Henna, in Sicily. 



sitae convallis sublucidum lucum prospicit fanum 
sollerti fabrica structural, nee ullam vel dubiam spei 
melioris viam volens omittere, sed adire cuiuscumque 
dei veniam, sacratis foribus proximat. Videt dona 
pretiosa ac lacinias auro litteratas ramis arborum 
postibusque suffixas, quae cum gratia facti nomen 
deae cui fuerant dicata testabantur. Tune genu nixa 
et manibus aram tepentem amplexa, detersis ante 
4 lacrimis, sic apprecatur : ' Magni lovis germana et 
coniuga, sive tu Sami, quae sola partu vagituque et 
alimonia tua gloriatur, tenes vetusta delubra ; sive 
celsae Carthaginis, quae te virginem vectura leonis 
caelo commeantem percolit, beatas sedes frequentas ; 
sive prope ripas Inachi, qui te iam nuptam Tonantis 
et reginam dearum memorat, inclitis Argivorum 
praesides moenibus ; quam cunctus oriens Zygiam 
veneratur et omnis occidens Lucinam appellat ; sis 
meis extremis casibus luno Sospita, meque in tantis 
exanclatis laboribus defessam imminentis periculi 
metu libera. Quod sciam, soles praegnatibus pericli- 
tantibus ultro subvenire.' Ad istum modum suppli- 
canti statim sese luno cum totius sui numinis augusta 
dignitate praesentat, et protinus ' Quam vellem ' 


valley a temple standing within a glimmering forest, 
fair and curiously wrought ; and minding to overpass 
no place whither better hope did direct her, although 
it might be uncertain, and to the intent she would 
desire the pardon of every god, she approached nigh 
to the sacred doors. There she saw precious riches 
and vestments engraven with letters of gold, hanging 
upon branches of trees and the posts of the temple, 
testifying the name of the goddess Juno to whom 
they were dedicated and the reason of their offering. 
Then she kneeled down upon her knees, and em- 
bracing the altar (which was yet warm) with her 
hands, and wiping her tears away, began to pray in 
this sort : ' O dear spouse and sister of the great god 
Jupiter, which art adored among the great temples 
of Samos alone made famous by thy birth, and infant 
crying, and nurture ; or worshipped at high and 
happy Carthage, as a maid, being carried through 
heaven by a lion ; or whether the rivers of the flood 
Inachus do celebrate thee, ruling over the notable 
walls of Argos, and know that thou art the wife of 
the great thunderer and the goddess of goddesses : 
all the east part of the world hath thee in veneration 
as Zygia, all the west world calleth thee Lucina : I 
pray thee to be mine advocate and Saviour l in my 
tribulations ; deliver me from the great peril which 
pursueth me, and save me that am wearied with so 
long labours and sorrow, for I know that it is thou 
that succourest and helpest such women as are with 
child and in danger.' Then Juno, hearing the prayers 
of Psyche, appeared unto her in all the royal dignity of 
her godhead, saying : ' Certes, Psyche, I would gladly 


Psyche appeals to Juno in her threefold aspect : Zygia, as 
goddess of marriage; Lucina, as goddess of childbirth ; and 
Sospita, as protectress and deliverer. 



inquit ' Per fidem nutum meum precibus tuis aceom- 
modare ! Sed contra voluntatem Veneris, nurus 
meae, quam filiae semper dilexi loco, praestare me 
pudor non sinit. Tune etiam legibus, quae servos 
alienos perfugas invitis dominis vetant suscipi, prohi- 

5 " Isto quoque fortunae naufragio Psyche perterrita 
nee indipisci iam maritum volatilem quiens, tota spe 
salutis deposita, sic ipsa suas cogitationes consuluit : 
' Iam quae possunt alia meis aerumnis temptari vel 
adhiberi subsidia, cui nee dearum quidem quamquam 
volentium potuerunt prodesse suffragia ? Quorsum 
itaque tantis laqueis inclusa vestigium porrigam, qui- 
busque tectis vel etiam tenebris abscondita magnae 
Veneris inevitabiles oculos effugiam ? Quin igitur 
masculum tandem sumis animum et cassae speculae 
renuntias fortiter, et ultroneam te dominae tuae 
reddis et vel sera modestia saevientes impetus eius 
mitigas ? Qui scias an etiam, quern diu quaeritas, 
illuc in domo matris repperias 'i ' Sic ad dubium 
obsequium, immo ad certum exitium praeparata prin- 
cipium futurae secum meditabatur obsecrationis. 

g " At Venus terrenis remediis inquisitionis abnuens 
caelurn petit. lubet instrui currum, quern ei V^l- 
canus aurifex subtili fabrica studiose poliverat et 
ante thalami rudimentum nuptiale munus obtulerat, 
limae tenuantis detrimento conspicuum et ipsius auri 
damno pretiosum. De multis quae circa cubiculum 
dominae stabulant, procedunt quatuor candidae 

help thee ; but I am ashamed to do anything con- 
trary to the will of my daughter-in-law Venus, whom 
always I have loved as mine own child ; and more- 
over I shall incur the danger of the law entitled De 
servo corrupto, whereby I am forbidden to retain any 
servant fugitive against the will of his master.' 

"Then Psyche, terrified at this new shipwreck of 
fortune, as without all hope of her safety and the re- 
covery of her husband, reasoned with herself in this 
sort : ' Now what comfort or remedy is left to my 
afflictions, when as my prayers will nothing avail 
with the goddesses, though they be willing enough 
to help me ? What shall 1 do ? Whither shall I go, 
that am set about and surrounded with such snares ? 
In what cave or darkness shall I hide myself to avoid 
the piercing eyes of Venus ? Why do I not take a 
good heart, renouncing my vain hopes, arid offer my- 
self with humility (though it be late) unto her whose 
anger I have wrought and so try to soften her great 
fury ? What do I know whether he whom I seek 
for so long be not in the house of his mother ? ' 
Thus unto a doubtful service, nay unto certain de- 
struction, Psyche prepared herself how she might 
make her orison and prayer unto Venus. 

" But Venus, after that she was weary with searching 
over all the earth for Psyche, returned towards heaven 
and commanded that one should prepare the chariot 
which her husband Vulcanus had most curiously 
shaped and given unto her as a marriage gift before 
that she had first entered the bridal chamber ; and 
it was so finely wrought that it had been made the 
more precious even of the very gold which the file 
had taken away. Four white doves, out of all those 
that stood sentinel to the chamber of their lady, 
stepped very briskly in front and bowed their 
B 257 


columbae, et hilaris incessibus picta colla torquentes 
iugum gemmeum subeunt susceptaque domina laetae 
subvolant. Currum deae prosequentes gannitti con- 
strepenti lasciviunt passeres et ceterae quae dulce 
cantitant aves melleis modulis suave resonantes ad- 
ventum deae pronuntiaut. Cedunt nubes et caelum 
filiae panditur et summus aether cum gaudio suscipit 
deam, nee obvias aquilas vel accipitres rapaces perti- 
mescit magnae Veneris canora familia. 

" Tune se protinus ad lovis regias arces dirigit et 
petitu superbo Mercuri, del vocalis, operae neces- 
sariam usuram postulat. Nee renuit lovis caerulum 
supercilium : tune ovans illico, comitante etiam 
Mercuric, Venus caelo demeat eique sollicite serit 
verba : ' Prater Arcadi, scis nempe sororem tuam 
Venerem sine Mercuri praesentia nil unquam fecisse, 
nee te praeterit utique quanto iam tempore delites- 
centem ancillam nequiverim repperire : nil ergo 
superest quam tuo praeconio praemium investiga- 
tionis publicitus edicere. Fac ergo mandatum ma- 
tures meum et indicia, qui possit agnosci, manifeste 
designes, ne, si quis occultationis illicitae crimen 
subierit, ignorantiae se possit excusatione defend ere'; 
et simul dicens libellum ei porrigit, ubi Psyches 
nomen continebatur et cetera. Quo facto protinus 
domum secessit. 

" Nee Mercurius omisit obsequium : nam per 
omnium ora populorum passim discurrens sic man- 

rainbow-coloured necks to the yoke of precious gems, 
and when Venus was entered in, bore up the chariot 
with great diligence. After her chariot there fol- 
lowed a number of sparrows chirping about, making 
sign of joy, and all other kind of birds sang very 
sweetly with honeyed notes, forcshewing the coming 
of the great goddess : the clouds gave place, the 
heavens opened and the upper air received her 
joyfully, the birds that followed, being the tuneful 
choir of Venus, nothing feared the eagles, hawks, and 
other ravenous fowl in the air. Incontinently she 
went unto the royal palace of the god Jupiter, and 
with proud and bold petition demanded the service 
of Mercury the herald in certain of her affairs, where- 
unto Jupiter consented, nodding with his azure brow ; 
then with much joy she descended from heaven with 
Mercury, and gave him an earnest charge to put in 
execution her words, saying : ' O my brother, born 
in Arcadia, thou knowest well that I (who am thy 
sister) did never enterprise to do anything without 
thy presence : thou knowest also how long I have 
sought for a girl that is a-hiding and cannot find her : 
wherefore there resteth nothing else save that thou 
do publicly pronounce the reward to such as take 
her. See thou put in execution my commandment, 
account the signs by which she may be known, and 
declare that whatsoever he be that retaineth her 
wittingly against my will, he shall not defend himself 
by any mean or excusation.' And when she had 
spoken this, she delivered unto him a paper wherein 
was contained the name of Psyche arid the residue 
of his publication ; which done, she departed away 
to her lodging. 

" By and by Mercurius, obeying her commands, 
proclaimed throughout all the world that whatsoever 



datae praedicationis munus exsequebatur : ' Si quis 
a fuga retrahere vel occultam demonstrare poterit 
fugitivam regis filiam, Veneris ancillam, nomine 
Psychen, conveniat retro metas Murtias Mercurium 
praedicatorem, accepturus indicivae nomine ab ipsa 
Venere septem savia suavia et unum blandientis 
appulsu linguae longe mellitum.' Ad hunc modum 
pronuntiante Mercurio tanti praemii cupido certatim 
omnium mortalium studium arrexerat : quae res 
nunc vel maxime sustulit Psyches omnem cuncta- 
tionem. lamque fores et ius dominae proximanti 
occurrit una de famulitione Veneris, nomine Con- 
suetudo, statimque, quantum maxime potuit, excla- 
mat : ' Tandem, ancilla nequissima, dominam habere 
te scire coepisti ? An pro cetera morum tuorum 
temeritate istud quoque nescire te fingis, quantos 
labores circa tuas inquisitiones sustinuerimus ? Sed 
bene, quod meas potissimum manus incidjsti et inter 
Orci cancros iam ipsos haesisti, datura scilicet 
9 actutum tantae contumaciae poenas ' ; et auda- 
citer in capillos eius immissa manu trahebat earn 
nequaquam renitentem. Quam ubi primum induc- 
tam oblatamque sibi conspexit Venus, laetissimum 
cachinnum extollit, et qualem solent frequenter irati } 
caputque quatiens et ascalpens aurem dexteram, 
' Tandem ' inquit ' Dignata es socrum tuam salu- 
tare ? An potius maritum, qui tuo vulnere pericli- 
tatur, intervisere venisti ? Sed esto secura ; iam 
enim excipiam te ut bonam nurum condecet ' : et 
' Ubi sunt ' inquit ' Sollicitudo atque Tristities, 


he were that could bring back or tell any tidings of 
a kind's fugitive daughter, the servant of Venus, 
named Psyche, let him bring word to Mercury, behind 
the Murtian temple, and for reward of his pains he 
should receive seven sweet kisses of Venus and one 
more sweetly honeyed from the touch of her loving 
tongue. After that Mercury had pronounced these 
things, every man was inflamed with desire of so 
great a guerdon to search her out, and this was 
the cause that put away all doubt from Psyche, 
who was all but come in sight of the house ot 
Venus : but one of her servants called Custom 
came out, who, espying Psyche, cried with a loud 
voice : ' O wicked harlot as thou art, now at 
length thou shalt know that thou hast a mistress 
above thee ; what, beside all thy other bold carriage, 
dost thou make thyself ignorant, as if thou diddest 
not understand what travail we have taken in search- 
ing for thee ? I am glad that thou art come into my 
hands, thou art now in the claws of Hell, and shalt 
abide the pain and punishment of thy great con- 
tumacy ' ; and therewithal she seized her by 
the hair, and brought her before the presence of 

" When Venus espied her brought into her 
presence, she began to laugh loudly, as angry 
persons accustom to do, and she shaked her head 
and scratched her right ear, 1 saying : ' Have you now 
deigned at length to visit your mother? Or per- 
chance to visit your husband, that is in danger of 
death by your means ? Be you assured I will handle 
you like a daughter ; where be my maidens Sorrow 
and Sadness ? ' To whom, when they came, she 

i Pliny, Natural History, XI. 45 : " Behind the right ear 
likewise is the proper place of Nemesis." 



ancillae meae?'; quibus intro vocatis torquendara 
tradidit earn. At illae sequentes herile praeceptum 
Psychen misellani flagellis afflictam et ceteris tor- 
mentis excruciatam iterum dominae conspectui red- 
dunt. Tune rursus sublato risu Venus ' Et ecce ' 
inquit ' Nobis turgidi ventris sui lenocinio commovet 
miserationem, unde me praeclara subole aviam beatam 
scilicet faciat. Felix vero ego, quae in ipso aetatis 
meae flore vocabor avia, et vilis ancillae filius nepos 
Veneris audiet. Quamquam inepta ego frustra filium 
dicam : impares enim nuptiae, et praetera in villa sine 
testibus, et patre non consentiente factae legitimae 
non possunt videri, ac per hoc spurius iste nascetur, 
si tamen partum omnino perferre te patiemur/ 
10 "His editis involat earn vestemque plurifariam 
diloricat, capilloque discisso et capite conquassato gra- 
viter affligit, et accepto frumento et hordeo et milio 
et papavere et cicere et lente et faba commixtisque 
acervatim confusis in unum grumulum sic ad illam : 
' Videris enim mihi tarn deformis ancilla nullo alio sed 
tantum sedulo ministerio amatores tuos promereri : 
iam ergo et ipsa frugem tuam periclitabor. Discerne 
seminum istorum passivam congeriem singulisque 
granis rite dispositis atque seiugatis ante istam ves- 
peram opus expedituni approbate mihi.' Sic assig- 
nato tantorum seminum cumulo ipsa cenae nuptiali 
concessit. Nee Psyche manus admolitur inconditae 


delivered Psyche to be cruelly tormented. They 
fulfilled the commandment of their mistress, and 
after they had piteously scourged her with whips 
and had otherwise tormented her, they presented 
her again before Venus. Then she began to laugh 
again, saying : ' Behold, she thinketh that by reason 
of her great belly, which she hath gotten by playing 
the whore, to move me to pity, and to make me a 
happy grandmother to her noble child. Am not I 
happy, that in the nourishing time of all mine age 
shall be called a grandmother, and the son of a vile 
harlot shall be accounted the grandson of Venus. 
Howbeit I am a fool to term him by the name of a 
son, since as the marriage was made between unequal 
persons, in no town, without witnesses, and not by 
the consent of their parents, therefore the marriage 
is illegitimate, and the child (that shall be born) a 
bastard, if indeed we fortune to suffer thee to live till 
thou be delivered.' 

" When Venus had spoken these words, she leaped 
upon poor Psyche, and (tearing everywhere her 
apparel) took her violently by the hair, and dashed 
her head upon the ground. Then she took a great 
quantity of wheat, barley, millet, poppy-seed, pease, 
lentils, and beans, and mingled them all together on 
a heap, saying : ' Thou art so evil-favoured, girl, 
that thou seemest unable to get the grace of thy 
lovers by no other means, but only by diligent and 
painful service : wherefore I will prove what thou 
canst do ; see that thou separate all these grains one 
from another, disposing them orderly in their quality, 
and let it be clone to my content before night.' When 
she had appointed this heap of seeds unto Psyche, she 
departed to a great banquet for a marriage that was 
prepared that day. But Psyche went not about to 


illi et inextricabili moli, sed immanitate praecepti 
consternata silens obstupescit. Tune formicula ilia 
parvula atque ruricola, certa difficultatis tantae 
laborisque. miserta contubernalis magni dei socrusque 
saevitiam execrata discurrens naviter convocat corro- 
gatque cunctam formicarum accolarum classem : 
' Miseremini terrae omniparentis agiles alumnae, mise- 
remini et Amoris uxori, puellae lepidae, periclitanti 
prompta velocitate succurrite.' Ruunt aliae super- 
que aliae sepedum populorum undae summoque 
studio singulae granatim totum digerunt acervum 
separatimque distributis dissitisque generibus e con- 
spectu perniciter abeunt. 

11 " Sed initio noctis e convivio nuptiali vino ma- 
dens et fragrans balsama Venus remeat totumque 
revincta corpus rosis micantibus, visaque diligentia 
miri laboris, ' Non tuum ' inquit * Nequissima, 
nee tuarum manuum istud opus sed illius, cui 
tuo, immo et ipsius malo placuisti ' ; et frusto 
cibarii panis ei proiecto cubitum facessit. Interim 
Cupido solus interioris domus unici cubiculi custo- 
dia clausus coercebatur acriter, partim ne petulanti 
luxurie vulnus gravaret, partim ne cum sua cupita 
conveniret. Sic ergo distentis et sub uno tecto sepa- 
ratis amatoribus tetra nox exanclata. Sed Aurora 
commodum inequitante vocatae Psychae Venus infit 
talia : 'Videsne illud nemus quod fluvio praeter- 


dissever the grain (as being a thing impossible to be 
brought to pass, by reason it lay so confusedly scat- 
tered) but being astonied at the cruel nommand- 
ment of Venus, sat still and said nothing. Then the 
little pismire the ant, that dwelleth in the fields, 
knowing and taking pity of the great difficulty and 
labour of the consort of so great a god, and cursing 
the cruelness of so evil a mother, ran about nimbly 
hither and thither, and called to her all the ants of 
the country, saying: 'I pray you, my friends, ye 
quick daughters of the ground the mother of all 
things, take mercy on this poor maid espoused to 
Cupid, who is in great danger of her person ; I pray 
you help her with all diligence.' Incontinently they 
came, the hosts of six-footed creatures one after 
another in waves, separating and dividing the grain, 
and after that they had put each kind of corn in 
order, they ran away again in all haste from her sight 
"When night came, Venus returned home from 
the banquet well tippled with wine, smelling of 
balm, and all her body crowned with garlands of 
roses, who when she espied with what great diligence 
the work was done, began to say : ' This is not the 
labour of thy hands, vile quean, but rather of his 
that is amorous of thee to thy hurt and his.' Then 
she gave her a morsel of brown bread, and went to 
sleep. In the mean season Cupid was closed fast in 
the most surest chamber of the house, partly because 
he should not hurt himself the more with wanton 
dalliance, and partly because he should not speak 
with his love. So was the night bitterly passed by 
these two lovers divided one from another beneath 
the same roof. But when Aurora was driving in 
through the morning sky, Venus called Psyche, and 
said : ' Seest thou yonder forest that extendeth out 



luenti ripisque longis attenditur, cuius imi frutices l 
vicinum fontem despiciunt? Oves ibi nitentes aurique 
colore 2 florentes incustodito pastu vagantur : inde de 
coma pretiosi velleris floccum inihi confestira quoquo 
modo quaesitum afFeras censeo.' 

" Perrexit Psyche volenter, non obsequium qui- 
dem ilia functura, sed requiem malorum praecipitio 
fluvialis rupis habitura. Sed inde de fluvio musicae 
suavis nutricula leni crepitu dulcis aurae divinitus 
inspirata sic vaticinatur arundo viridis : ' Psyche, 
tantis aerumnis exercita, neque tua miserrim,a morte 
meas sanctas aquas polluas nee vero istud horae 3 
contra formidabiles oves feras aditum, quoad de solis 
flagrantia mutuatae calorem truci rabie soleut efFerri 
cornuque acuto et fronte saxea et nonnunquam 
venenatis morsibus in exitium saevire mortalium 
Sed dum meridies solis sedaverit vaporem et pecua 
spiritus fluvialis serenitate conquieverint, poteris sub 
ilia procerissima platano, quae raecum simul unum 
fluentum bibit, latenter abscondere. Et cum primum 
mitigata furia laxaverint oves animum, percussis 
frondibus attigui nemoris lanosum aurum repperies, 
13 quod passim stirpibus convexis obhaerescit.' Sic 
arundo simplex et humana Psychen aegerrimam 
salutem suam docebat : nee auscultatu impaenitendo 4 

1 Cuius must necessarily refer to the grove, and not to the 
river, so that the MSS' gurgites cannot stand. Van der Vliet's 
frutices is a possible suggestion. 

2 This is the correction of the older editors for the un- 
intelligible aurive cole of the MSS. 


in length with the river-banks, the bushes whereof 
look close down upon the stream hard by ? There be 
great sheep shining like gold, and kept by no manner 
of person; I command thee that thou go thither and 
bring me home some of the wool of their fleeces.' 

" Psyche arose willingly, not to do her command- 
ment, but to throw herself headlong into the water 
to end her sorrow. But then a green reed, nurse of 
sweet music, inspired by divine inspiration with a 
gracious tune and melody, began to say : 'O Psyche, 
harried by these great labours, I pray thee not to 
trouble or pollute my holy water by thy wretched 
death, and yet beware that thou go not towards the 
terrible wild sheep of this coast until such time as 
the heat of the sun be past ; for when the sun is in 
his force, then seem they most dreadful and furious 
with their sharp horns, their stony foreheads, and 
their poisonous bites wherewith they arm themselves 
to the destruction of mankind : but until the midday 
is past and the heat assuaged, and until the flock doth 
begin to rest in the gentle breeze of the river, thou 
mayest hide thyself here by me under this great 
plane-tree, which drinks of the river as I do also, and 
as soon as their great fury is past and their passion 
is stilled, thou mayest go among the thickets and 
bushes under the wood-side and gather the locks of 
their golden fleeces which thou shalt find hanging 
upon the briars.' Thus spake the gentle and 
benign reed, shewing a mean to most wretched 
Psyche to save her life, which she bare well in 

s So Salmasius for the MSS' ittius orac. 

4 Why should Psyche be sorry that she had listened to flie 
reed, as the MSS '(reading paenitendo) imply? The exact 
opposite is the case, and is supplied by Petscheiiig's emendatiou 
as in the text. 


diligenter instructa ilia cessavit, sed observatis omni- 
bus furatrina facili flaventis auri mollitie congestum 
gremium Veneri reportat. Nee tamen apud domi- 
nam saltern secundi laboris periculum secundum 
testimonium meruit, sed contortis superciliis surri- 
dens amarum sic inquit : ' Nee me praeterit huius 
quoque facti auctor adulterinus. Sed iam nunc ego 
sedulo periclitabor, an oppido forti animo singu- 
larique prudentia sis praedita. Videsne insistentem 
celsissimae illi rupi mentis ardui verticem, de quo 
fontis atri fuscae defluunt undae proxumaeque con- 
ceptaculo vallis inclusae Stygias irrigant paludes et 
rauca Cocyti fluenta nutriunt ? Indidem mihi de 
summi fontis penita scaturigine rorem rigentem 
hauritum ista confestim defer urnula.' Sic aiens 
crystallo dedolatum vasculum, insuper ei graviora 
comminata, tradidit. 

14, "At ilia studiose gradum celerans mentis extre- 
mum petit cumulum certe vel illic inventura vitae 
pessimae finem. Sed cum primum praedicti iugi con- 
terminos locos appulit, videt rei vastae letalem diffi- 
cultatemr : namque saxum immani magnitudine 
procerum et inaccessa salebritate lubricum mediis 
e faucibus lapidis fontes horridos evomebat, qui 
statim proni foraminis lacunis editi perque proclive 
delapsi et angusti canalis exarato 1 contecti tramite 
i So Petschenig with great probability for the MSS' exarto. 


memory, and with all diligence went and gathered 
up such locks as she found and put them in her apron 
and carried them home to Venus : howbeit the danger 
of this second labour did not please her, nor give her 
sufficient witness of the good service of Psyche, but 
twisting her brows with a sour resemblance of 
laughter, she said: 'Of a certainty I know that 
another is the author of this thy deed, but I will 
prove if thou be truly of so stout a courage and 
singular prudence as thou seemest. Seest thou the 
high rock that overhangs the top of yonder great 
hill, from whence there runneth down water of black 
and deadly colour which is gathered together in the 
valley hard by and thence nourisheth the marshes 
of Styx and the hoarse torrent of Cocytus ? I charge 
thee to go thither and bring me a vessel of that 
freezing water from the middest flow of the top of 
that spring ' : wherewithal she gave her a bottle of 
carven crystal, menacing and threatening her more 
rigorously than before. 

" Then poor Psyche went in all haste to the top of 
the mountain, rather to end her wretched life than 
to fetch any water, and when she was come up to the 
ridge of the hill, she perceived that it was very 
deadly and impossible to bring it to pass, for she saw 
a great rock, very high and not to be approached by 
reason that it was exceeding rugged and slippery, 
gushing out most horrible fountains of waters, which, 
bursting forth from a cavernous mouth that sloped 
downwards, ran below and fell through a close and 
covered watercourse which they had digged out, by 
many stops and passages, into the valley beneath. On 
each side she saw great dragons creeping upon the 
hollow rocks and stretching out their long and bloody 
necks, with eyes that never slept devoted to watch - 



proxumam convallem latenter incidebant. Dextra 
laevaque cautibus cavatis proserpunt et longa colla 
porrecti saevi dvacones inconnivae vigiliae luminibus 
addictis et in perpetuam lucem pupulis excubantibus. 
lamque et ipsae semet muniebant vocales aquae ; 
nam et ' Discede/ et ( Quid facis ? Vide/ et ' Quid 
agis ? Cave/ et ' Fuge/ et ' Peribis ' subinde clacnant. 
Sic impossibilitate ipsa mutata in lapidem Psyche 
quamvis praesenti corpore^ sensibus tamen aberat, et 
inextricabilis periculi mole prorsus obruta lacrimarum 
etiam extreme solacio carebat. Nee Providentiae 
bonae graves oculos innocentis animae latuit 
aerumna : nam primi lovis regalis ales ilia re- 
pente propansis utrimque pinnis affuit rapax aquila, 
memorque veteris obsequii, quo ductu Cupidinis 
lovi pocillatorem Phrygium sustulerat, opportunam 
ferens opem deique numen in uxoris laboribus 
percolens, alti culminis diales vias deserit, et ob os 
puellae praevolans incipit : ( At tu simplex alio- 
quin et expers rerum talium, speras te sanctissimi nee 
minus truculenti fontis vel unam stillam posse furari 
vel omnino contingere ! Diis etiam ipsique lovi 
fbrmidabiles aquas istas Stygias vel fando com- 
peristi, quodque vos deieratis per numina deorum, 
deos per Stygis maiestatem solere ! Sed cedo istam 
urnulam/ et protinus arreptam complexamque fes- 
tinat libratisque pinnarum nutantium molibus inter 
genas saevientium dentium et trisulca vibramina dra- 
conum remigium dextra laevaque porrigens volentes 


fulness, their pupils always awake to the unfailing 
light, which were appointed to keep the river there : 
the very waters protected themselves with voices, for 
they seemed to themselves likewise saying : ' Away, 
away, what wilt thou do ? Fly, fly, or else thou wilt 
be slain.' Then Psyche (seeing the impossibility of 
this affair) stood still as though she were transformed 
into stone, and although she was present in body, 
yet was she absent in spirit and sense, overcome by 
reason of the great and inevitable peril which she 
saw, in so much that she could not even comfort her- 
self with weeping. Yet the sorrow of this innocent 
escaped not the watchful eyes of good Providence, 
and the royal bird of great Jupiter, the eagle, swept 
down on wings stretched out, remembering his old 
service which he had done, when by the leading of 
Cupid he brought up the Phrygian boy to the 
heavens, to be made the butler of Jupiter, and 
minding to shew the like service in the person of 
the wife of Cupid, and came from the high house of 
the skies, and flying past the girl's face said unto 
Psyche : ' O simple woman, without all experience of 
such things, dost thou think to get or dip up any drop 
of this dreadful water ? No, no, assure thyself thou 
art never able to come nigh it, for the gods them- 
selves, and even very Jupiter, do greatly fear so 
much as to name those waters of Styx ; what, have 
you not heard that as it is a custom among men to 
swear by the puissance of the gods, so the gods do 
swear by the majesty of the river Styx ? But give 
me thy bottle ' : and suddenly he took it and held 
it, and hastened on the poise of his beating wings 
betwixt the ravening teeth and terrible darting 
tongues of the dragons by right and by left, and 
filled it with the water of the river which yet came 



aquas et ut abiret innoxius permittentes l excipit, com- 
mentus ob iussum Veneris patere eique se prae- 
ministrare, quare paulo facilior adeundi fuit copia. 

16 Sic acceptam cum gaudio plenam urnulam Psyche 
Veneri citata rettulit. Nee tamen nutum deae sae- 
vientis vel tune expiare potuit : nam sic earn maiora 
atque peiora flagitia comminans appellaJT, renidens 
exitiabile : ' lam tu quidem maga videris quaedam 
mihi et alta prorsus malefica, quae talibus praeceptrs 
meis obtemperasti naviter ; sed adhuc istud, mea 
pupula, ministrare debebis. Sume istam pyxidem' 
(et dedit) ' Protinusque ad inferos et ipsius Orci 
ferales penates te derige. Tune conferens pyxidem 
Proserpinae, " Petit de te Venus/' dicito, " Modicum 
de tua mittas ei formositate, vel ad unam saltern 
dieculam sufficiens : nam quod habuit dum filium 
curat aegrotum consumpsit atque contrivit omne." 
Sed baud immaturius redito, quia me necesse est 
indidem delitam theatrum deorum frequentare.' 

17 "Tune Psyche vel maxime sensit ultimas fortunas 
suas et velamento reiecto ad promptum exitium sese 
compelli manifeste comperit : quidni, quae suis 
pedibus ultro ad Tartarum Manesque commeare 
cogeretur? Nee cunctata diutius pergit ad quam- 
piam turrim praealtam indidem sese datura prae- 
cipitem ; sic enim rebatur ad inferos recta atque 
pulcherrime se posse descendere. Sed turris pro- 
rumpit in vocem subitam, et ' Quid te ' inquit 
f Praecipitem, o misella, quaeris extinguere ? Quid- 
que iam novissimo periculo laborique isto temere 
succumbis ? Nam si spiritus corpore tuo semel 
fuerit seiugatus, ibis quidem profecto ad imum 
Tartarum, sed inde nullo pacto redire poteris. 

i The MSS here read minantes or potantes, showing signs of 
erasure and alteration. Pe/'mittentes is due to Bluemner, who 


willingly that he might depart unharmed : for he 
feigned that he sought it by the command of Venus, 
and so was his coming made somewhat more easy' 
Then Psyche, being very joyful thereof, took the full 
bottle and quickly presented it to Venus. Nor 
would the furious goddess even yet be appeased, but 
menacing more and more, and smiling most cruelly, 
said: 'What? Thou seemest unto me a very witch 
and a most deep enchantress, thou hast so nimbly 
obeyed my commands. Howbeit thou shalt do one 
thing more, my poppet; take this box and go to 
Hell and the deadly house of Orcus, and desire 
Proserpina to send me a little of her beauty, as 
much as will serve me the space of one day, and say 
that such as 1 had is consumed away in tending mv 
son that is sick : but return again quickly, for I must 
dress myself therewithal, and go to the theatre of 
the gods.' 

"Then the poor Psyche clearly perceived the end 
of all her fortune, seeing that all pretence was 
thrown off, and manifestly she was being driven to 
present destruction ; and not without cause, as she 
was compelled to go upon her own feet to the gulf 
and furies of Hell. Wherefore without any further 
delay, she went up to a high tower to throw hert>elf 
down headlong (thinking that it was the next and 
readiest way to Hell) : but the tower (as inspired) 
spake suddenly unto her, saying : ' O poor wretch, 
why goest thou about to slay thyself? Why dost 
thou rashly yield unto thy last peril and danger? 
Know thou that if thy spirit be once separate from 
thy body thou shalt surely go to Hell, but never to 
return again ; wherefore hearken to me. Lace- 
also wished to chauge innoxius to iivnoxia : Helm suggested 

S 273 


18 Mihi ausculta: Lacedaemo Achaiae nobilis civitas 
non longe sita est ; huius conterminam deviis ab- 
ditam locis quaere Taenarum. Inibi spiraculum 
Ditis, et per portas hiantes monstratur iter invium, 
cui te limine transmeato simul commiseris, iam canale 
directo perges ad ipsam Orel regiam. Sed non hacte- 
nus vacua debebis per illas tenebras incedere, sed offas 
polentae mulso concretas anibabus gestare manibus, 
at in ipso ore duas ferre stipes. lamque confecta bona 
parte mortiferae viae continuaberis claudum asinum 
lignorum gerulum cum agasone simili, qui te rogabit 
decidentis sarcinae fusticulos aliquos porrigas ei ; sed 
tu nulla voce deprompta tacita praeterito. Nee mora, 
cum ad flumen mortuum venies^ cui praefectus Charon 
protenus expetens portorium, sic ad ripam ulteriorem 
sutili cymba deducit commeantes. Ergo et inter mor- 
tuos avaritia vivit, nee Charon ille vel Ditis pater, 
tantus deus, quicquam gratuito facit, sed moriens 
pauper viaticum debet quaerere, et aes si forte prae 
manu non fuerit, nemo eum expirare patietur. Huic 
squalido seni dabis nauli nomine de stipibus quas 
feres alteram, sic tamen ut ipse sua manu de tuo 
sumat ore. Nee setius tibi pigrum fluentum trans- 
meanti quidam supernatans senex mortuus putres 
attollens manus orabit ut eum intra navigium 
trahas : nee tu tamen illicita afflectare pietate. 

1 9 Transito fluvio modicum te progressaui textrices 
orabunt anus telam struentes, manus paulisper accom- 
modes. Nee id tamen tibi contingere fas est: nam 

daemon, a city of Greece, is not far hence : go thou 
thither and enquire for Taenarus, which is hidden in 
waste places, whereas thou shalt find a hole, the 
breathing-place of Hell, and through the open gate 
is seen a pathless way : hereby if thou enter across 
that threshold, thou shalt come by a straight passage 
even to the palace of Pluto. But take heed that 
thou go not with empty hands through that place of 
darkness : but carry two sops sodden in the flour of 
barley and honey in thy hands, and two halfpence in 
thy mouth ; and when thou hast passed a good part of 
that deadly way thou shalt see a lame ass carrying of 
wood, and a lame fellow driving him, who will desire 
thee to give him up certain sticks that fall down from 
his burden, but pass thou on silently and do nothing. 
By and by thou shalt come unto the dead river, 
whereas Charon is ferryman, who will first have his 
fare paid him before he will carry the souls over the 
river in his patched boat. Hereby you may see that 
avarice reigneth even amongst the dead ; neither 
Charon nor Pluto will do anything for nought: for if 
if it be a poor man that is near to die, and lacketh 
money in his hand, none will allow him to give up the 
ghost. Wherefore deliver to the foul old man one of 
the halfpence which thou bearest for thy passage, 
but make him receive it with his own hand out of 
thy mouth. And it shall come to pass as thou sittest 
in the boat, thou shalt see an old man swimming on 
the top of the river holding up his deadly hands, and 
desiring thee to receive him into the bark ; but have 
no regard to his piteous cry, for it is not lawful to do 
so. When thou art past over the flood thou shalt espy 
certain old women weaving who will desire thee to 
help them, but beware thou do not consent unto 
them in any case, for these and like baits and traps 


haec omnia tibi et multa alia d^f Veneris insidiis 
orientur, ut vel unam de manibus omittas offulam : 
nee putes futile istud polentacium damnum leve ; 
altera enim perdita, lux haec tibi prorsus denegabitur. 
Canis namque praegrandis, teriugo et satis amplo 
capite praedituSj hnmanis et formidabilis, tonantibus 
oblatrans faucibus mortuos, quibus iam nil mali potest 
facere, frustra territando ante ipsuni limen et atra 
atria Proserpinae semper excubans servat vacuam 
Ditis domuna : hunc offrenatum unius ofFulae praeda 
facile praeteribis, ad ipsamque protinus Proserpinam 
introibis, quae te comiter excipiet ac benigne, ut et 
molliter assidere et prandium opipare suadeat sumere. 
Sed tu et humi reside et panem sordidum petitum 
esto, deinde nuntiato quid adveiieris, susceptoque 
quod offeretur, rursus remeans canis saevitiam offula 
reliqua redime, ac deinde, avaro navitae data quam re- 
servaveras stipe transitoque eius fluvio, recolens priora 
vestigia ad istum caelestium siderum redies chorum. 
Sed inter omnia hoc observandum praecipue tibi 
censeo, ne velis aperire vel inspicere illam quam feres 
pyxidem vel omnino divinae formositati addictum 
curiosius thesaurum.' 

go " Sic turris ilia prospicua vaticinationis munus 
explicuit. Nee morata Psyche pergit Taenarum, 
sumptisque rite stipibus illis et offulis, infernum 
decumt meatum transitoque per silentium asinario 
debili et amnica stipe vectori data, neglecto super- 
natantis mortui desiderio, et spretis textricum sub- 
dolis precibus, et offulae cibo sopita canis horrenda 
rabie, domum Proserpinae penetrat : nee offerentis 



will Venus set, to make thee let fall but one of thy 
sops : and think not that the keeping of thy sops 
is a light matter, for if thou lose one of them thou 
shalt be assured never to return again to this world. 
For there is a great and marvellous dog with three 
heads, huge and horrid, barking continually at the 
souls of such as enter in, to frighten them with vain 
fear, by reason he can now do them no harm ; he 
lieth day and night before the gate of Proserpina, 
and keepeth the desolate house of Pluto with great 
diligence : to whom, if thou cast one of thy sops, 
thou mayest have access to Proserpina without all 
danger : she will make thee good cheer, and bid 
thee sit soft, and entertain thee with delicate meat 
and drink, but sit thou upon the ground and desire 
brown bread and eat it, and then declare thy message 
unto her, and when thou hast received what she 
giveth, in thy return appease the rage of the dog 
with the other sop, and give thy other halfpenny to 
covetous Charon, and crossing his river come the 
same way again as thou wentest in to the upper 
world of the heavenly stars : but above all things have 
a regard that thou look not in the box, neither be not 
too curious about the treasure of the divine beauty.' 
" In this manner the high tower prophetically 
spake unto Psyche, and advertised her what she 
should do : and immediately she took two half- 
pence, two sops, and all things necessary and went 
unto Taenarus to go towards Hell, and thence 
passing down in silence by the lame ass, she paid her 
halfpenny for passage, neglected the desire of the 
dead old man in the river, denied to help the wily 
prayers of the women weaving, and filled the 
ravenous mouth of the dog with a sop, and came to 
the chamber of Proserpina. There Psyche would 



hospitae sedile delicatum vel cibum beatum amplexa 
sed ante pedes eius residens humilis, cibario pane 
contenta, Veneriam pertulit legationem, statimque 
secreto repletam conclusamque pyxidem suscipit, 
et ofFulae sequentis fraude caninis latratibus ob- 
seratis, residuaque navitae reddita stipe, longe 
vegetior ab inferis recurrit. Et repetita atque 
adorata Candida ista luce, quanquam lestinans ob- 
sequium terminare, mentem capitur temeraria curio- 
sitate, et ' Ecce ' inquit ' Inepta ego diyinae for- 
mositatis gerula, quae nee tantillum quidem indidem 
mihi delibo, vel sic illi amatori meo formoso placitura,' 
et cum dicto reserat pyxidem : nee quicquam ibi 
rerum nee formositas ulla, sed infernus somnus ac 
vere Stygius, qui statim coperculo revelatus invadit 
earn crassaque soporis nebula cunctis eius membris 
perfunditur et in ipso vestigio ipsaque semita col- 
lapsam possidet; et iacebat immobilis et nihil aliud 
quam dormiens cadaver. Sed Cupido iam cicatrice 
solida revalescens nee diutinam suae Psyches ab- 
sentiam tolerans, per altissimam cubiculi, quo cohi- 
bebatur, elapsus fenestram, vefectisque pinnis ali- 
quanta quiete, longe velocius provolans Psych en 
accurrit suam, detersoque somno curiose et rursum 
in pristinam pyxidis sedem recondito, Psychen 
innoxio punctulo sagittae suae suscitat, et f Ecce' 
inquit ' Rursum perieras, misella, simili curiositate. 
Sed interim quidem tu provinciam, quae tibi matris 
meae praecepto mandata est, exsequere naviter ; 
cetera egomet videro.' His dictis amator levis in 
pinnas se dedit, Psyche vero confestim Veneri munus 
reportat Proserpinae. 


not sit in any royal seat, nor eat any delicate meats, 
but sitting lowly at the feet of Proserpina, only con- 
tented with coarse bread, declared the message of 
Venus, and after she had received a mystical secret 
in the box she departed, and stopped the mouth of 
the dog with the other sop, and paid the boatman 
the other halfpenny. Then returning more nimbly 
than before from Hell, and worshipping the white 
light of day, though she was much in haste to come 
to the end of her task, she was ravished with great 
desire, saying : ' Am not I a fool, that knowing that 
I carry here the divine beauty, will not take a little 
thereof to garnish my face, to please my lover 
withal ? ' And by and by she opened the box, where 
she could perceive no beauty nor anything else, save 
only an infernal and deadly sleep, which immediately 
invaded all her members as soon as the box was 
uncovered, covering her with its dense cloud in such 
sort that she fell down on the ground, and lay there 
in her very steps on that same path as a sleeping 
corpse. But Cupid being now healed of his wound 
and malady, not able to endure the long absence of 
Psyche, got him secretly out at a high window of the 
chamber where he was enclosed, and (his wings 
refreshed by a little repose) took his flight towards 
his loving wife; whom when he had found, he wiped 
away the sleep from her face, and put it again into 
the box, and awaked her with an harmless prick of 
the tip of one of his arrows, saying : ' O wretched 
captive, behold thou wert well nigh perished again 
with thy overmuch curiosity ; well, go thou, and do 
bravely thy message to my mother, and in the mean 
season I will provide all things accordingly ' ; where- 
withal he took his flight into the air, and Psyche 
brought to Venus the present of Proserpina. 



22 - r /nterea Cupido, amore nimio peresus et aegra 
facie, matris suae repentinam sobrietatem perti- 
mescens ad armilliim redit alisque pernicibus caeli 
penetrate vertice magno lovi supplicat suamque 
causam probat. Tune luppiter prehensa Cupidinis 
buccula manuque ad os suum relata consaviat, atque 
sic ad ilium ' Licet tu ' inquit ' Domine fili, nunquam 
mi hi concessu deum decretum servaris honorem, sed 
istud pectus meum, quo leges elementorum et vices 
siderum disponuntur, convulneraris assiduis ictibus 
crebrisque terrenae libidinis foedaveris casibus, con- 
traque leges et ipsam luliam disciplinamque publicam 
turpibus adulteriis existimationem famamque meam 
laeseris, in serpentes, in ignes, in feras, in aves et 
gregalia pecua serenos vultus meos sordide re- 
formando ; at tamen modestiae meae memor quodque 
inter istas meas manus creveris, cuncta perficiam, 
dum tamen scias aemulos tuos cavere ac, si qua nunc 
in terris puella praepollet pulchritudine, praesentis 
beneficii vicem per earn mihi repensare te debere.' 

23 " Sic fatus iubet Mercurium deos omnes ad con- 
tionem protinus convocare ac si qui coetu caelestium 
defuisset, in poenam decem milium nummum conven- 
tum iri pronuntiare. Quo metu statim completo 

1 The law of Augustus against adultery. See the com- 
mentators on Juvenal, II. 37. 

2 The various forms assumed by Jupiter in his love-affuirs 
with earthly women. C'f. Ovid, Metamorphoses, II. 103 : 

"The Lydian maiden in her web did portray to the 


How Europe was by royal Jove beguiled in shape of 
Bull. . . . 

She portrayed also there 

Asterie struggling with an Erne which did away her bear. 
And over Leda she had made a Swan his wings to splay. 



" Now Cupid being more and more in love with 
Psyche, and fearing the sudden austerity of his 
mother, returned again to his tricks, and did pierce 
on swift wings into the heavens, and arrived before 
Jupiter to declare his cause : then Jupiter alter that 
he had eftsoons embraced his dear i'ace and kissed 
his hand, began to say in this manner : ' O my 
lord and son, although thou hast not given due 
reverence and honour unto me as thou oughtest to 
do, but hast rather soiled and wounded this my 
breast (whereby the laws and order of the elements 
and planets be disposed) with continual assaults of 
terrene luxury and against all laws, yea even the 
Julian l law, and the utility of the public weal, 
hurting my fame and name by wicked adulteries, 
and transforming my divine beauty into serpents, 
fire, savage beasts, birds, and bulls. 2 Howbeit 
remembering my modesty, and that I have nourished 
thee with mine own proper hands, I will do and 
accomplish all thy desire. But still thou shouldest 
beware of spiteful and envious persons, and if there 
be any excellent maiden of comely beauty in the 
world, remember yet the benefit which I shall shew 
unto thee, by recompense of her love towards me 

" When he had spoken these words, lie com- 
manded Mercury to call all the gods to counsel, and 
if any of the celestial powers did fail of appearance, 
he should be condemned in ten thousand pounds : 
which sentence was such a terror unto all the gods, 

She added also how by Jove in shape of Satyr g&y 
The fair Antiope with a pair of children was besped. . . . 

And now he also came 

To Danae like a shower of gold, to Aejrine like a flame, 
A shepherd to Mnemosyne, and like a Serpent sly 
To Proserpine." 


caelesti theatre, pro sede sublimi sedens procerus 
luppiter sic enuntiat : ' Dei conscripti Musarum albo, 
adulescentem istum quod manibus meis alumnatus 
sim, profeeto scitis omnes, cuius primae iuventutis 
ealoratos impetus freno quodamcoercendos existimavi. 
Sat est cotidianis eum fabulis ob adulteria cunctasque 
corruptelas infamatum : tollenda est omnis occasio et 
luxuria puerilis nuptialibus pedicis alliganda. Puellam 
elegit et virginitate privavit : teneat, possideat, ana- 
plexus Psychen semper suis amoribus perfruatur': et 
adVenerem collata facie, ' Nee tu,' inqtiit ' Filia, quic- 
quam contristere nee prosapiae tantae tuae statuque 
de matrimonio mortali metuas. lam faxo nuptias 
non impares sed legitimas et iure civili congruas,' et 
illico per Mercurium arripi Psychen et in caelum 
perduci iubet. Porrecto ambrosiae poculo, ' Sume/ 
inquit ' Psyche, et immortalis esto ; nee unquam 
digredietur a tuo nexu Cupido sed istae vobis erunt 
perpetuae nuptiae.' 

24 " Nee mora, cum cena nuptiaKs affluens exhibetur . 
accumbebat summum torum maritus, Psychen gremio 
suo complexus ; sic et cum sua lunone luppiter ac 
deinde per ordinem toti del. Tune poculum nec- 
taris, quod vinum deorum est, lovi quidem suus po- 
cillator, ille rusticus puer, ceteris vero Liber mini- 
strabat, Vulcanus cenam coquebat, Horae rosis et 
ceteris floribus purpurabant omnia, Gratiae sparge- 


that the high theatre was replenished with them, and 
Jupiter began to speak in this sort : ' O ye Gods, 
registered in the books of the Muses, you all doubt- 
less know this young man Cupid, whom I have 
nourished with mine own hand, whose raging flames 
of his first youth I have thought best to bridle and 
restrain. It sufficeth in that he is defamed in every 
place for his adulterous living and all manner of vice ; 
wherefore all such occasion ought to be taken away 
and his boyish wantonness tied up in the bonds of 
marriage : he hath chosen a maiden that favoureth 
him well, and hath bereaved her of her virginity ; let 
him have her still and possess her, and in the 
embrace of Psyche take his own pleasure.' Then he 
turned unto Venus, and said : ' And you, my 
daughter, take you no care, neither fear the dis- 
honour of your progeny and estate, neither have 
regard in that it is a mortal marriage, for I will see 
to it that this marriage be not unequal, but just, 
lawful, and legitimate by the law civil.' Incon- 
tinently after, Jupiter commanded Mercury to bring 
up Psyche into the palace of heaven. And then 
he took a pot of immortality, and said : ' Hold, 
Psyche, and drink to the end thou mayest be 
immortal, and that Cupid may never depart from 
thee, but be thine everlasting husband.' 

" By and by the great banquet and marriage feast 
was sumptuously prepared. Cupid sat down in the 
uppermost seat with his dear spouse between his 
arms : Juno likewise with Jupiter and all the other 
gods in order : Ganymedes, the rustic boy, his own 
butler, filled the pot of Jupiter, and Bacchus served 
the rest : their drink was nectar, the wine of the 
gods. Vulcanus prepared supper, the Hours decked 
up the house with roses and other sweet flowers, the 


bant balsama, Musae quoque canora personabant, 
Apollo caiitavit ad citharam, Venus suavi musicae 
superingressa formosa saltavit : scaena sibi sic con- 
cinnata, ut Musae quidem chorum canerent et tibias 
inflarent, Satyrus et Paniscus ad fistulam dicerent. Sic 
rite Psyche convenit in manum Cupidinis, et nascitur 
illis maturo partu filia, quam Voluptatem nominamus." 

25 Sic captivae puellae delira et temulenta ilia narra- 
bat anicula ; sed astans ego non procul dolebam me- 
hercules quod pugillares et stilum non habebam, qui 
tarn bellam fabellam praenotareni. Ecce confecto 
nescioquo gravi proelio latrones adveniunt onusti ; 
nonnulli tamen, immo promptiores, vulneratis domi 
relictis et plagas recurantibus, ipsi ad reliquas occul- 
tatas in quadam spelunca sarcinas, ut aiebant, pro- 
ficisci gestiunt ; prandioque raptim tuburcinato, me 
et equum meum vectores rerum illarum futures fusti- 
bus exinde tundentes producunt in viam, multisque 
clivis et anfractibus fatigatos prope ipsam vesperam 
perducunt ad quampiam speluncam, unde multis 
onustos rebus rursunx, ne breviculo quidem tempore 
refectos ociter reducunt, tantaque trepidatione fes- 
tinabant, ut me plagis multis obtundentes propellen- 
tesque super lapidem propter viam positum deicerent: 
unde crebris aeque ingestis ictibus crure dextero et 
ungula sinistrame debilitatum aegre ad exsurgendum 

26 compellunt, et unus " Quousque " inquit " Ruptum 
istum asellum, nunc etiam claudum^ frustra pasce- 
mus ? ", et alius : " Quid quod et pessimo pede domum 
nostram accessit, nee quicquam idonei lucri exinde 


Graces threw about balm, the Muses sang with sweet 
harmony, Apollo turned pleasantly to the harp, fair 
Venus danced finely to the music, and the entertain- 
ment was so ordained that while the Muses sang in 
quire, Satyrus and Paniscus played on their pipes : 
and thus Psyche was married to Cupid, and after in 
due time she was delivered of a child, whom we call 

This the trifling and drunken old woman declared 
to the captive maiden, but I, poor ass, not standing 
far off, was not a little sorry in that I lacked pen and 
book to write so worthy a tale ; when by and by the 
thieves came home laden with treasure, and many of 
them which were of strongest courage being wounded : 
then (leaving behind such as were lame and hurt 
to heal and air themselves) said they would return 
back again to fetch the rest of their pillage which 
they had hidden in a certain cave. So they snatched 
up their dinner greedily, and brought forth me and 
my horse into the way to carry those goods, and beat 
us before them with staves, and about night (after 
that we were weary by passing over many hills and 
dales) we came to a great cave, where they laded us 
with mighty burdens, and would not suffer us to 
refresh ourselves any season, but brought us again in 
our way, and hied very fast homeward ; and what 
with their haste and cruel stripes wherewith they 
did belabour and drive me, I fell down upon a stone 
by the highway side. Then they beat me pitifully 
in lifting me up, hurting my right thigh and my 
left hoof, and one of them said : " How long shall we 
continue to feed this evil-favoured ass that is now 
also lame ? " Another said : " Since the time we had 
him first he never did any good, and 1 think he came 
into our house with evil luck ; for we have had great 


cepimus sed vulnera et fortissimorum occisiones." 
Alius iterum : " Certe ego cum primum sarcinas istas 
quamquam invitus pertulerit, protinus eum vulturiis 
gratissimum pabulum futurum praecipitabo." 

Dum secum mitissimi homines altercant de mea 
nece, iam et domum perveneramus, nam timor ungu- 
las mihi alas fecerat. Turn quae ferebamus amoliti 
properiter, nulla salutis nostrae cura sed ne meae 
quidem necis habita, comitibus adscitis qui vulnerati 
remanserant, dudum recurrunt reliqua laturi l taedio, 
ut aiebant, nostrae tarditatis. Nee me tamen medio- 
cris carpebat scrupulus contemplatione comminatae 
mihi mortis, et ipse mecum : " Quid stas, Luci, vel 
quid iam novissimum expectas ? Mors, et haec 
acerbissima, decreto latronum tibi comparata est. 
Nee magno conatu res indiget ; vides istas rupinas 
proximas et praeacutas in his prominentes silices, 
quae te penetrantes antequam decideris, membratim 
dissipabunt. Nam et ilia ipsa praeclara magia tua 
vultum laboresque tibi tantum asini, verum corium 
non asini crassum sed hirudinis tenue membranulum 
circumdedit. Quin igitur masculum tandem sumis 
animum tuaeque saluti dum licet consulis ? Habes 
summam opportunitatem fugae, dum latrones absunt 
An custodiam anus semimortuae formidabis, quam 
licet claudi pedis tui calce unica finire poteris ? Sed 
quo gentium capessetur fuga vel hospitium quis dabit ? 
Haec quidem inepta et prorsus asinina cogitatio : quis 
enim viantium vectorem suum non libenter auferat 


27 Et alacri statim nisu lorum, quo fueram destinatus, 
abrumpo, meque quadripedi cursu proripio, nee tamen 

1 The MSS have recurrunt relatori taedio. Van der Vliet 
proposed reliqua ipsi laturi for the middle word, and I have 
followed him, omitting the ipsi. 



wounds since, and loss of our valiant captains." 
Another said : As soon as he has brought un- 
willingly home his burden, I will surely throw him 
out upon the mountain to be a prey for vultures." 

While these gentle men reasoned together of my 
death, we fortuned to come home, for the fear that 
I was in caused my feet to turn into wings. After 
that we were discharged of our burdens, they took 
no account of our needs, nor even of my slaying ; 
they fetched their fellows that lay wounded, and 
returned again to bring the rest of the things, by 
reason (as they said) of our great tardiness and slow- 
ness by the way. Then was I brought into no small 
anguish, when I perceived my death prepared before 
my face, and I communed with myself : " Why 
standest thou still, Lucius ? Why dost thou look 
for thy death ? Knowest thou not that the thieves 
have cruelly ordained to slay thee, and they shall 
find it easy enough? Seest thou not these sharp 
precipices and pointed flints which shall bruise and 
tear thee in pieces or ever thou comest to the bottom 
of them ? Thy gentle magician hath not only given 
thee the shape and travail of an ass, but also a skin 
so soft and tender as it were of a leech. Why dost 
thou not take a man's courage and run away to save 
thy life ? Now hast thou the best occasion of flight 
while the thieves are from home. Art thou afraid 
of the old woman, which is more than half dead, 
whom with a stripe of thy heel, though lame, thou 
mayest easily dispatch? .But whither shall I. fly? 
What lodging shall I seek ? Behold an assy cogita- 
tion of mine ; for who is he that passes by the way 
and will not gladly take up a beast to carry him ? " 

Then while I devised these things, I broke sud- 
denly the halter wherewith I was tied, and ran away 



acutulae anus milvinos oculos effugere potui : nam 
ubi me conspexit absolutum, capta super sexum et 
aetatem audacia lorum prehendit ac me deducere ac 
revocare contendit. Nee tamen ego, memor exitia- 
bilis propositi latronum, pietate ulla commoveor, sed 
incussis in earn posteriorum pedum calcibus protinus 
applodo terrae. At ilia, quamvis humi prostrata, loro 
tamen tenaciter inhaerebat, ut me procurrentem ali- 
quantisper tractu sui sequeretur, et occipit statim 
clamosis ululatibus auxilium validioris manus im- 
plorare. Sed fruslra fletibus cassum tumultum 
commovebat, quippe cum nullus adforet qui sup- 
petias ei ferre posset, nisi sola ilia virgo captiva. 
Quae vocis excitu procurrens videt Hercule memo- 
randi spectaculi scaenam, non tauro sed asino 
dependentem Dircen aniculam, sumptaque constantia 
virili facinus audet pulcherrimum. Extorto etenim 
loro manibus eius rne placidis gannitibus ab impetu 
revocatum naviter inscendit et sic ad cursum rursum 
28 incitat. Ego simul voluntariae fugae voto et liber- 
andae virginis studio, sed et plagarum suasu, quae me 
saepicule commonebant, equestri celeritate quadripedi 
cursu solum replaudens virgini delicatas voculas ad- 
hinnire temptabam. Sed et scabendi dorsi mei simu- 
latione nonnunquam obliquata cervice pedes decoros 
puellae basiabam. 



with all my four feet l : howbeit I could not escape 
the kite's eyes of the old woman, for when she saw 
me loose she ran after me, and with more audacity 
than becometh her kind and age, caught me by the 
halter and thought to pull me home ; but I, not 
forgetting the cruel purposes of the thieves, was 
moved with small pity, for I kicked her with my 
hinder heels to the ground. I had well nigh slain 
her, who (although she were thrown and hurled down) 
yet held still the halter and would not let me go, 
but was for some time dragged along the ground by 
me in my flight. Then she cried with a loud voice 
and called for succour of some stronger hand, but 
she little prevailed because there was no person to 
bring her help, save only the captive gentlewoman, 
who, hearing the voice of the old woman, came out 
to see what the matter was and perceived a scene 
worth telling, a new Dirce 2 hanging, not to a bull, 
but to an ass. Then she took a good courage and 
performed a deed worthy of a man : she wrested 
the halter out of her hands, and (entreating me with 
gentle words) stopped me in my flight and got upon 
my back and drove me to my running again. Then 
I began to run, both that I might escape and to save 
the maiden, and she gently kicked me forward, in so 
much that beneath her frequent urging I seemed to 
scour away like a horse, galloping with my four feet 
upon the ground. And when the gentlewoman did 
speak I would answer her with my braying, and 
oftentimes (under colour to rub my back) I would 
turn back my neck and sweetly kiss her tender feet. 

1 Quadripcdi curxu seems to be a phrase for galloping, as 
in modern Greek errd rfofftpa. 

2 Dirce was killed by being tied by her hair to a wild bull in 
revenge for her similar cruelty to her rival Antiope. 

T 289 


Tune ilia suspirans altius, caelumque sollicito vultu 
petens " Vos," inquit " Superi, tandem meis su- 
premis periculis opera facite, et tu, Fortuna durior* 
iam saevire desiste : sat tibi miseris istis cruciatibus 
meis litatum est. Tuque, praesidium meae libertatis 
meaeque salutis, si me domum pervexeris incolumem 
parentibusque et formoso proco reddideris, quas tibi 
gratias perhibebo, quos honores habebo, quos cibos 
exhibebo ? Iam primum iubam istam tuam probe 
pectinatam meis virginalibus monilibus adornabo, 
frontem vero crispatam prius decoriter discriminabo 
caudaeque setas incuria lavacri congestas et horridas, 
cornptas diligenter mollibo, 1 bullisque te multis aureis 
inoculatum, velut stellis sidereis relucentem, et 
gaudiis popularium pomparum ovantem, sinu serico 
progestans nucleos et edulia mitiora, te meum sospita- 
29 torem cotidie saginabo. Sed nee inter cibos delicatos 
et otium profundum vitaeque totius beatitudinem 
deerit tibi dignitas gloriosa : narn memoriam praesentis 
fortunae meae divinaeque providentiae perpetua testa- 
tione signabo, et depictam in tabula fugae praesentis 
imaginem meae domus atrio dedicabo. Visetur et in 
fabulis audietur doctorumque stilis rudis perpetua- 
bitur historia ' Asino vectore virgo regia fugiens 
captivitatem.' Accedes antiquis et ipse miraculis et 

1 The MSS are here very uncertain and have been altered 
and erased. Mollibois Leo's suggestion, which I combine with 
the oomptas {MSS compta) of Kronenberg. 



Then she, fetching a sigh from the bottom of her 
heart, lifted up her eyes unto the heavens, saying : 
" O sovereign gods, deliver me, if it be your pleasure, 
from these present dangers ; and thou, cruel fortune, 
cease thy wrath ; let the sorrow suffice thee which I 
have already sustained. And thou, little ass, that 
art the occasion of my safety and liberty, if thou 
canst once render me safe and sound to my parents, 
and to that comely one that so greatly desireth to 
have me to his wife, thou shalt see what thanks I 
will give thee, with what honour I will reward thee, 
and how I will feed thee. First I will finely comb 
thy mane and adorn it with my maiden necklaces, 
and then I will bravely dress the hair of thy fore- 
head, and tie up thy rugged tail trimly, whose 
bristles are now ragged and matted by want of care : 
I will deck thee round about with golden trappings 
and tassels, in such sort that thou shalt glitter like 
the stars of the sky, and shalt go in triumph amid 
the applause of the people : I will bring thee every 
day in my silken apron the kernels of nuts, and will 
pamper thee up with dainty delights ; I will set 
store by thee, as by one that is the preserver of my 
life. Finally, thou shalt lack no manner of thing, 
and amongst thy glorious fare, thy great ease, and 
the bliss of thy life, thou shalt not be destitute of 
dignity, for thou shalt be chronicled perpetually 
in memory of my present fortune, and the providence 
divine. All the whole history of this our present 
flight shall be painted upon the wall of our house : 
thou shalt be renowned throughout all the world, 
and this tale (though rude) shall be registered in the 
books of doctors, how an ass saved the life of a young 
maiden, a princess, that was a captive amongst 
thieves. Thou shalt be numbered amongst the 



iam credemus exemplo tuae veritatis et Phrixum 
arieti supernatasse et Arionem delphinum guber- 
nasse et Europam tauro supercubasse. Quod si vere 
lupiter mugivit in bovem, potest in asino meo latere 
aliqui vel vultus hominis vel fades deorum." 

Dum haec identidem puella replicat votisque cre- 
bros intermiscet suspiritus, ad quoddam pervenimus 
trivium, unde me arrepto capistro dirigere dextrorsum 
magnopere gestiebat, quod ad parentis eius ea scilicet 
iretur via. Sed ego gnarus latrones iliac ad reliquas 
commeasse praedas, renitebar firmiter atque sic in 
animo meo tacitus expostulabam : " Quid facis, infelix 
puella ? Quid agis ? Cur festinas ad Orcum ? Quid 
meis pedibus facere contendis ? Non enim te tantum, 
verum etiam me perditum ibis." Sic nos diversa 
tendentes et in causa finali de proprietate soli, immo 
viae herciscundae contendentes, rapinis suis onusti 
coram deprehendunt ipsi latrones et ad lunae splen- 
dorem iam hide longius cognitos risu maligno salu- 
30 tant ; et unus e numero sic appellat : " Quorsum 
istam festinanti vestigio lucubratis viam nee noctis 
intempestae Manes Larvasque formidatis ? An tu, 
probissima puella, parentes tuos intervisere propera- 
bas ? Sed nos et solitudini tuae praesidium praesta- 
bimus et ad parentes tuos iter monstrabimus," et 
unus manu secutus prehenso loro retrorsum me cir- 
cumtorquet, nee baculi nodosi quod gerebat stietis 
ictibus temperat. ^Tunc ingratis ad promptum re- 
currens exitium reminiscor doloris ungulae et occipio 

ancient miracles : we shall believe by the example 
of this truth that Phrixus saved himself from drown- 
ing upon a ram, Arion escaped upon a dolphin, and 
that Europa rode upon a bull. If Jupiter trans- 
formed himself into a lowing bull, why may it not be 
that under shape of this ass is hidden the figure of a 
man, or some power divine ? " 

While that the virgin did thus mix sorrowful sighs 
with her hopes and prayers we fortuned to come to 
a place where three ways did meet, and she took me 
by the halter and would have me turn on the right 
hand to her father's house, but I (knowing that the 
thieves were gone that way to fetch the residue 
of their pillage) resisted with my head as much as 
I might, saying within myself: " What wilt thou do, 
unhappy maiden? Why wouldest thou go so will- 
ingly to Hell ? Why wilt thou run into destruction 
in despite of my feet ? Why dost thou seek thine 
own harm and mine likewise ? " And while we two 
strove together like men striving at law about the 
division of land, or rather about some right of way, 
the thieves returned laden with their prey, and per- 
ceived us afar off by the light of the moon : and 
after they had known us they laughed despitefully, 
and one of them began to say : " Whither go you so 
hastily ? Be you not afraid of spirits and ghosts of 
the night ? And you (you harlot) do you go to see 
your parents ? Come on, we will bear you company 
for safety's sake and shew you the way to your 
parents." And therewithal one took me by the 
halter and drove me back again, beating me cruelly 
with a great staff that he had, full of knobs ; then I 
returning against my will to my ready destruction, 
and remembering the grief of my hoof, began to 
shake my head and to wax lame, but he that led me 



nutanti capite claudicare : sed " Ecce " inquit ille 
qui me retraxerat, " Rursum titubas et vacillas et 
putres isti tui pedes fugere possunt, ambulare nes- 
ciunt ! At paulo ante pinnatam Pegasi vincebas 
celeritatem." Dum sic mecum fustem quatiens 
benign us iocatur comes, iam domus eorum extremam 
loricam perveneramus, et ecce de quodam ramo 
procerae cupressus induta laqueum anus ilia pende- 
bat ; quam quidern detractam protinus cum suo sibi 
funiculo devinctam dedere praecipitem puellaque 
statim distenta viiiculis cenam, quam postuma dili- 
gentia praeparaverat infelix anicula, ferinis invadunt 

3 1 Ac dum avida voracitate cuncta contruncant, iam 
incipiunt de nostra poena suaque vindicta secum 
considerare. Et utpote in coetu turbulento variae 
fuere sententiae, ut primus vivam cremari censeret 
puellam, secundus bestiis obici suaderet, tertius pati- 
Imlo suffigi iube.ret, quartus tormentis excarnificari 
praeciperet ; certe calculo cunctorum utcumque mors 
ei fuerat destinata. Tune unus omnium sedato 
tumultu, placido sermone sic orsus est : " Nee sectae 
collegii nee mansuetudini singulorum ac ne meae 
quidem modestiae congruit pati vos ultra modum 
delictique saevire terminum, nee feras nee eruces nee 
ignes nee tormenta ac ne mortis quidem maturatae 
festinas tenebras accersere. Meis itaque consiliis 
auscultantes vitam puellae, sed quam meretur, largi- 



by the halter said: "What, dost thou stumble? 
Canst thou not go ? These rotten feet of thine can 
run well enough, but they cannot walk ; thou couldst 
mince it finely even now with the gentlewoman, so 
that thou didst seem to pass the horse Pegasus in 
swiftness." In jesting and saying these kindly 
words they beat me again with a great staff, and 
when we were come almost home we saw the old 
woman hanging by a noose upon a bough of a cypress- 
tree ; then one of them cut her down where she 
hanged, together with her rope, and cast her into 
the bottom of a great ditch. After this they bound 
the maiden in chains and fell greedily to their 
victuals which the miserable old woman had provided 
for them to eat after she was dead. 

Now while they devoured all very gluttonously 
they began to devise with themselves of our death 
and how they might be revenged. Divers were 
the opinions of this divers number, such as might 
well be in a turbulent company : the first said that 
he thought best the maid should be burned alive ; the 
second said she should be thrown out to wild beasts ; 
the third said she should be hanged upon a gibbet ; 
the fourth said she should be flayed alive with tor- 
tures : certainly was the death of the poor maiden 
decided by the vote of them all. But one of the 
thieves did make them all to be silent, and then very 
quietly speak in this manner : "It is not convenient 
unto the oath of our company, nor to the clemency 
of each person, nor indeed to my own gentleness, to 
suffer you to wax more cruel than the quality of the 
offence doth merit ; for I would that she should not 
be hanged, nor burned, nor thrown to wild beasts, 
nor even that she die any sudden death ; but hearken 
to my counsel, and grant her life, but life according 
* 295 


mini. Nee Vus meraoria deseruit utique quid iamdu- 
dum decreveritis de isto asino semper pigro quidem 
sed manducone summo, nunc etiam mendaci fictae 
debilitatis et virginalis fugae sequestro ministroque. 
Hunc igitur iugulare crastino placeat, totisque vacue- 
facto praecordiis per mediam alvum nudam virginem, 
quam praetulit nobis, insuere, ut sola facie praemi- 
nente ceterum corpus puellae nexu ferino coerceat, 
tune super aliquod saxum scruposum insiticium et 
fartilem asinum exponere et soils ardentis vaporibus 
tradere. Sic enim cuncta, quae recte statuistis, ambo 
sustinebunt; et mortem asinus quam quidem meruit, 
et ilia morsus ferarum, cum vermes membra lania- 
bunt, et ignis flagrantiam, cum sol nimis caloribus 
inflammarit uterum, et patibuli cruciatum, cum canes 
et vultures intima protrahent viscera. Sed et ceteras 
eius aerumnas et tormenta numerate : mortuae bestiae 
ipsa vivens ventrem habitabit, turn faetore nimio 
nares excruciante 1 aestu et mediae diutinae letali 
fame tabescet, nee suis saltern liberis manibus mortem 
sibi fabricare poterit." Talibus dictis non pedibus 
sed totis animis latrones in eius vadunt sententiam. 
Quam meis tarn magnis auribus accipiens, quid aliud 
quam meum crastinum deflebam cadaver ? 

l This word is not in the MSS. Some participle governing 
nares seems to hare dropped out. 


to her desert. You know well what you have 
determined already of this dull ass, that always 
eateth more than he is worth, and now who feigneth 
lameness, and that was the cause and helper of the 
flying away of the maid. My mind is that he shall 
be slain to-morrow, and when all the guts and en- 
trails of his body are taken out let the maid, whom 
he hath preferred to us, be stript and sewn into his 
belly, so that only her head be without, but the rest 
of her body be enclosed within the beast. Then let 
us lay this stuffed ass upon a great stone against the 
broiling heat of the sun ; so they shall both sustain 
all the punishments which you have ordained: for 
first the ass shall be slain as he hath deserved ; and 
she shall have her members torn and gnawed with 
wild beasts, when she is bitten and rent with worms ; 
she shall endure the pain of the fire, when the broil- 
ing heat of the sun shall scorch and parch the belly 
of the ass ; she shall abide the gallows, when the 
dogs and vultures shall drag out her innermost 
bowels. I pray you number all the torments which 
she shall suffer : first, she shall dwell alive within the 
paunch of the ass ; secondly, her nostrils shall receive 
the carrion stink of the beast ; thirdly, she shall die 
for heat and hunger, and she shall find no means to 
rid herself from her pains by slaying herself, for her 
hands shall be sewn up within the skin of the ass." 
This being said, all the thieves consented not by their 
votes x only, but with their whole hearts to the 
sentence ; and when I (poor ass) heard with my gn/at 
ears and understood all their device I did nothing 
else save bewail and lament my dead carcass, which 
should be handled in such sort on the next morrow. 

1 Lit. " by the feet " a technical term takeu from the 
voting-lobbies of the Senate. 


1 UT primum tenebris abiectis dies inalbebat et 
candidum soils curriculum cuncta collustrabat, 
quidam de numero latronum pervenit ; sic enim 
mutuae salutationis officium indicabat. Is in primo 
speluncae aditu residens et ex anhelitu recepto 
spiritu tale collegio suo nuntium facit : " Quod ad 
domum Milonis Hypatini quam proxime diripuimus 
pertinet, discussa sollicitudine iam possumus esse 
securi. Postquam vos enim fortissimis viribus cunctis 
ablatis castra nostra remeastis^ immixtus ego turbelis 
popularium dolentique atque indignant! similis arbi- 
trabar super investigatione facti cuiusmodi consilium 
caperent, et an et quatenus latrones placeret inquiri, 
renuntiaturus vobis, uti mandaveratis, omnia. Nee 
argumentis dubiis sed rationibus probabilibus con- 
gruo cunctae multitudinis consensu nescioqui Lucius 
auctor manifestus facinoris postulabatur, qui proximis 
diebus fictis commendaticiis litteris Miloni sese virum 
commentitus bonum artius conciliaverat, ut etiam 



As soon as the day shone bright and night was past, 
and the clear chariot of the sun had spread his bright 
beams on every coast, came one of the company of 
the thieves (for so his and their greeting did declare) ; 
who at his first entry into the cave (after he had 
breathed himself and was able to speak) told these 
tidings unto his companions in this sort : " Sirs, as 
touching the house of Milo of Hypata, which we 
forcibly entered and ransacked the last day, we may 
put away all fear, and doubt nothing at all ; for after 
that you by force and arms had spoiled and taken 
away all things in the house, and so returned hither 
unto our cave, I (thrusting in amongst the press of 
the people and shewing myself as though I were sad 
and sorrowful for the mischance) consulted with them 
for the bolting out of the matter, whether and how 
far they would devise for the apprehension of the 
thieves, to the intent I might learn and see all that 
was done to make relation thereof unto you, as you 
willed me, The whole fact at length by manifest 
and evident proofs, as also by the common opinion 
and judgement of all the people, was laid to one 
Lucius' charge, as manifest author of this committed 
robbery, who, a few days before, by false and forged 
letters and coloured honesty, had feigned himself to 
be a true man and had gotten himself so far in favour 
with this Milo that he entertained him into his house 



hospitio susceptus inter familiares intimos haberetur, 
plusculisque ibidem diebus demoratus falsis amoribus 
ancillae Milonis animum irrepens ianuae claustra 
sedulo exploraverat et ipsa membra, in quis omne 
2 patrimonium condi solebat, curiose perspexerat. Nee 
exiguum scelerati monstrabatur indicium, quippe 
cum eadem nocte sub ipso flagitii momento idem 
profugisset nee exinde usquam compareret ; nam et 
praesidium fugae, quo velocius frustratis insecutoribus 
procul ac procul abderet sese, eidem facile suppedi- 
tasse : equum namque ilium suum candidum vectorem 
futurum duxisse secum. Plane servum eius ibidem in 
hospitio repertum scelerum consiliorumque herilium 
futurum indicem per magistratus in publicam custo- 
diam receptum, et altera die tormentis vexatum pluri- 
bus ac paene ad ultimam mortem excarnificatum nil 
quicquam rerum talium esse confessum, missos tamen 
in patriam Lucii illius multos numero qui reum 
poenas daturum sceleris inquirerent." 

Haec eo enarrante, veteris fortunae et illius beati 
Lucii praesentisque aerumnae et infelicis asini facta 
comparatione medullitus ingemebam, subiitque me 
non de nihilo veteris priscaeque doctrinae viros finx- 
isse ac pronuntiasse caecam et prorsus exoculatam 
esse Fortunam, quae semper suas opes ad malos et 
indignos conferat, nee unquam iudicio quemquam 
mortalium eligat, immo vero cum iis potissimum de- 
versetur, quos procul si videret, fugere deberet, 
quodque cunctis est extremius, varias opiniones, 

and received him as chief of his familiar friends; 
which Lucius, after that he had sojourned there a 
good space, and won the heart of Milo's maid by 
feigned love, did thoroughly learn the ways and doors 
of all the house, and curiously viewed the coffers and 
chests, wherein was laid the whole substance of Milo. 
Neither was there small cause to judge him culpable, 
since as the very same night as this robbery was 
done, he fled away, and could be found in no place, 
and to the intent he might clean escape and better 
prevent such as made hue and cry after him, he took 
his white horse and galloped away. After this his 
servant was found in the house, who was taken as 
able to give an information of the felony and escape 
of his master, and was committed to the common 
gaol, and the next day following was cruelly scourged 
and tormented till he was well nigh dt-ad, but he 
would confess nothing of the matter ; and when they 
could wrest or learn no such thing of him, yet sent 
they many persons after towards Lucius' country to 
enquire him out, and so take him prisoner to pay the 
punishment of that his crime." 

As he declared these things, I did greatly lament 
with myself to think of mine old and pristine estate, 
and what felicity I was sometimes in, in comparison 
to the misery that I presently sustained, being 
changed into a miserable ass. Then had I no small 
occasion to remember how the old and ancient 
writers did feign and affirm that fortune was stark 
blind and without eyes, because she always be- 
stoweth her riches upon evil persons and fools, and 
chooseth and favoureth no mortal person by judge- 
ment, but is always conversant especially with such 
whom if she could see, she would more shun and 
forsake ; yea, and which is worse, she soweth such 



immo contrarias nobis attribuat, ut et malus boni viri 
fama glorietur et innocentissimus contra noxio rumore 
S plectatur. Ego denique quern saevissimus eius im- 
petus in bestiam et extremae sortis quadripedem 
deduxerat, cuiusque casus etiara quovis iniquissimo 
dolendus atque miserandus merito videretur, crimine 
latrocinii in hospitem mihi carissiraum postulabar. 
Quod crimen lion modo latrocinium, verum etiam 
parricidium quisque rectius nominarit, nee mihi 
tamen licebat causam meam defendere vel unico 
verbo saltern denegare. Denique ne mala conscientia 
tarn scelesto crimini praesens viderer silentio con- 
sentire, hoc tantum impatientia perductus volui 
dicere " Non feci." Et verbum quidem praecedens 
semel ac saepius immodice clamitavi, sequens vero 
nullo pacto disserere potui, sed in prima remansi voce, 
et identidem boavi " Non, non," quamquam nimia 
rotunditate pendulas vibrassem labias. Sed quid ego 
pluribus de Fortunae scaevitate conqueror ? Quam * 
nee istud puduit, me cum meo famulo meoque vec- 
tore illo equo factum conservum atque coniugem. 
4 Talibus cogitationibus fluctuantem subit me ilia 
cura potior, qua statute consilio latronum manibus 
virginis decretam me victimam recordabar, ventrem- 
que crebro suspiciens meum iam misellam puellam 
parturibam. Sed ille qui commodum falsam de me 
notoriam pertulerat, expromptis mille aureum, quos 
insutu laciniae contexerat quosque variis viatoribus 

1 The MSS have here quamquam. The correction was 
made by Beroaldus. 



diverse or rather contrary opinions in men, that the 
wicked do glory with the name of good, and contrary 
the good and innocent be detracted and slandered as 
evil. Furthermore I, who by her great cruelty was 
turned into a four-footed ass in most vile and abject 
manner, yea, and whose estate seemed worthy to be 
lamented and pitied of the most hard and stony 
hearts, was accused of theft and robbing of my dear 
host Milo. This villainy might rather be called 
parricide than theft, yet might I not defend mine 
own cause, or deny the fact by any one word, by 
reason I could not speak ; howbeit lest my conscience 
should seem to accuse me of so base a crime by reason 
of silence, and again being enforced by impatience, 
I endeavoured to speak, and fain would have said : 
" Never did I do that deed." And verily the first 
word, " Never," I cried out once or twice somewhat 
handsomely, but the residue I could in no wise pro- 
nounce, but still remaining in one voice cried " Never, 
never, never," though I settled my hanging lips as 
round as I could to speak the rest of it. But why 
should I further complain of the cruelty of fortune, 
since she was not much ashamed to make me a 
fellow-slave and partner with my servant and my 
own horse ? 

While I pondered tempestuously with myself all 
these things, a greater care came to my remembrance, 
touching the death which the thieves had devised for 
me to be an offering to the ghost of the maiden, and 
still as I looked down to my belly, I thought of the 
poor gentlewoman that should be closed within me. 
Then the thief which a little before had brought the 
false news against me, drew out of the skirt of his 
coat a thousand gold crowns, which he had rifled 
away from such as he met, and cast it very honestly, 



detractos, ut aiebat, pro sua frugalitate communi con- 
ferebat arcae, infit etiam de salute commilitonum 
sollicite sciscitari ; cognitoque quosdam, immo vero 
fortissimum quemque variis quidem sed impigris 
casibus oppetisse, suadet, tantisper pacatis itineri- 
bus omniumque proeliorum servatis induciis, inquisi- 
tioni commilitonum potius insisteretur et tirocinio 
novae iuventutis ad pristinae manus numerum Martiae 
cohortis facies integraretur : nam et invitos terrore 
compelli et volentes praemio provocari posse, nee 
paucos humili servilique vitae renuntiantes ad instar 
tyrannicae potestatis sectam suam conferre malle. 
Se quoque iamdudum pro sua parte quendam con- 
venisse hominem et statu procerum et aetate iu- 
venem et corpore vastum et manu strenuum, eique 
suasisse ac denique persuasisse, ut manus hebetatas 
diutina pigritia tandem referret ad frugem meliorem 
bonoque secundae dum posset frueretur valetudinis, 
nee manum validam erogandae stipi porrigeret, sed 
5 hauriendo potius exerceret auro Talibus dictis uni- 
versi omnes assensere, et ilium qui iam comprobatus 
videretur adscisci et alios ad supplendum numerum 
vestigari statuunt. Tune profectus et paululum com- 
moratus ille perducit immanem quendam iuvenem, 
uti fuerat pollicitus, nescio an ulli praesentium com- 
parandum (nam praeter ceteram corporis molem toto 
vertice cunctos antepollebat et ei commodum lanugo 
malis inserpebat) sed plane centunculis disparibus et 


as he said; into the common treasury. Then he care- 
fully enquired how the residue of his companions did, 
and to him it was declared that the most valiant were 
murdered and slain in divers manners, but very bravely; 
whereupon he persuaded them to remit all their affairs 
a certain season, leaving the highways in peace, and 
to seek for other fellows to be in their places, that 
by the exercise of new lads the terror of their martial 
band might be brought again to the old number ; 
and he assured them that such as were unwilling 
might be compelled by menaces and threatenings, and 
such as were willing might be encouraged forward 
with reward : further, he said that there were some 
which (seeing the profit which they had) would for- 
sake their base and servile estate and rather be con- 
tented to live like tyrants amongst them. Moreover, 
he declared that for his part he had spoken with 
a certain tall man, a valiant companion, but of young 
age, stout in body, and courageous in fight, whom he 
had advised and at last fully persuaded to exercise 
his idle hands, dull with long slothfulness, to his 
greater profit, and, while he might, to receive the 
bliss of better fortune, and not to hold out his sturdy 
arms to beg for a penny, but rather to take as much 
gold and silver as he would Then every one con- 
sented that he that seemecl so worthy to be their 
companion should be one of their company, and that 
they would search for others to make up the residue 
of the number : whereupon he went out, and by and 
by returning again brought in a tall young man, as he 
promised, to whom none of the residue might be 
compared, for he was higher than they by the head, 
and of more bigness in body, though the down of his 
beard had but now begun to spread over his cheeks ; 
but he was poorly apparelled with rags of divers 



male consarcinatis semiamictum, inter quos pectus et 
venter crustata crassitie reluctabant. 

Sic introgressus " Havete " inquit " Fortissimo 
deo Marti clientes, mihique iam fidi commilitones, 
et virum magnanimae vivacitatis volentem volentes 
accipite, libentius vulnera corpore excipientem quam 
auruin manu suscipientem, ipsaque morte, quam for- 
midant alii, meliorem. Nee me putetis egenum vel 
abiectum, neve de pannulis istis virtutes meas aesti- 
metis : nam praefui validissimae manui totamque 
prorsus devastavi Macedonian!. Ego sum praedo 
famosus, Haemus ille Thracius, cuius totae pro- 
vinciae nomen horrescunt, patre Therone aeque la- 
trone inclito prognatus, humano sanguine nutritus 
interque ipsos manipulos factionis educatus, heres et 
6 aemulus virtutis paternae. Sed omnem pristinam 
sociorum fortium multitudinem magnasque illas opes 
exiguo temporis amisi spatio : nam procuratorem 
principis ducenaria perfunctum, dehinc fortuna tris- 
tiore decussum, praetereuntem deo l irato fueram 
aggressus. Sed rei noscendae carpo ordinem. 

" Fuit quidam multis officiis in aula Caesaris clarus 
atque conspicuus, ipsi etiam probe spectatus. Hunc 
insimulatum quorundam astu proiecit extorrem sae- 
xiens invidia : sed uxor eius Plotina, quaedam rarae 
fidei atque singularis pudicitiae femina, quae decimo 
partus stipendio viri farniliam fundaverat, spretis 
atque contemptis urbicae luxuriae deliciis, fugientis 

l The MSS have something like praetereumte me orato. The 
correction to praetereuntem deo irato (i.e. Mars) is due to 



clothes sewn ill together, in so much that you might 
see all his breast and strong belly naked. 

As soon as he was entered in, he said : " God 
speed ye, soldiers of Mars, and my faithful com- 
panions, I pray you make me welcome as one of your 
band, and I will ensure you that you shall have a man 
of singular courage and lively audacity, for I had 
rather receive wounds upon my body than money 
or gold in my hands ; and as for death (which other 
men do fear) I care nothing at all for it. Yet think 
you not that I am an abject or a beggar, neither 
judge you my virtue and prowess by my ragged 
clothes, for I have been a captain of a great company, 
and wasted all the country of Macedonia ; I am the 
renowned thief Haemus the Thracian, whose name 
whole countries and nations do greatly fear : I am 
the son of Theron the notable thief, nourished with 
human blood, brought up amongst the stoutest of 
such a band, and finally I am inheritor and follower 
of my father's virtues. Yet I lost in a short time 
all my ancient company and all my riches by one 
assault which I made, to my hurt, upon a factor of 
the Prince, which sometime had received a wage of 
two hundred pounds, but then had been cast down 
from his rank by fortune. Hearken, and I will tell 
you the whole matter in order. 

" There was a certain man in the Court of the 
Emperor which had many offices and high renown, 
and in great favour with the Prince himself, who at 
last by the envy and cunning of divers persons was 
banished away and compelled to forsake the Court : 
but his wife Plotina, a woman of rare faith and 
singular shamefastness, having borne ten children 
to her husband to be the foundation of his house, 
despised all worldly pomp and delicacy of living in 



comes et infortunii socia, tonso capillo in mascii- 
linam faciem reformato habitu, pretiosissimis moni- 
lium et auro monetali zonis refertis incincta, inter 
ipsas custodientium militum manus et gladios nudos 
intrepida, cunctorum periculorum particeps et pro 
mariti salute pervigilem curam suscipiens, aerum- 
nas assiduas ingenio masculo sustinebat. lamque 
plurimis itineris difficultatibus marisque terroribus 
exanclatis Zacynthum petebat, quam sors ei fatalis 
7 decreverat temporariam sedem. Sed cum primum 
litus Actiacum, quo tune Macedonia delapsi gras- 
sabamur, appulisset, nocte promota tabernulam quan- 
dam litori navique proximam, quam l vitatis maris 
fluctibus incubabant, invadimus et diripimus omnia, 
nee tamen periculo levi temptatidiscessimus. Simul 
namque primum sonum ianuae matrona percepit, pro- 
currens in cubiculum clamoribus inquietis cuncta 
miscuit, milites suosque famulos nominatim, sed et 
omnem viciniam suppetiatum convocans, nisi quod 
pavore cunctorum, qui sibi quisque metuentes deli- 
tescebant, effectum est, ut impune discederemus. 
Sed protinus sanctissima vera enim dicenda sunt 
et unicae fidei femina, bonis artibus gratiosa, preci- 
bus ad Caesaris numen porrectis, et marito reditum 
celerem et aggressurae plenam vindictam impetravit : 
denique noluit esse Caesar Haemi latronis collegium, 
et confestim interivit ; tantum potest nutus etiam 

i The insertion of quam seems to be necessary here, as 
suggested by Luetjohann. 



cities, and determined to follow her husband, anu 10 
be a partaker of all his perils and dangers : where- 
fore she cut off her hair, disguised herself like a man, 
and sewed into her girdle much jewellery and 
treasure, passing through the bands of the soldiers 
that guarded him and the naked swords without any 
fear; whereby she shared all his dangers and en- 
dured many miseries with the spirit of a man, not of 
a woman, and was partaker of much affliction to save 
the life of her husband. And when they had escaped 
many perilous dangers as well by land as by sea, they 
went towards Zacynthus to continue there for a tune 
according as fortune had appointed. But when they 
arrived on the sea-coast of Actium (where we in our 
return from Macedonia were roving about) when 
deep night was come they turned into a house, not 
far distant from the shore and their ship, where they 
lay all night to escape the tossing of the waves. 
Then we entered in and took away all their sub- 
stance, but verily we were in great danger, for the 
good matron, perceiving us incontinently by the noise 
of the gate, went into the chamber, and aroused all 
by her cries, calling up soldiers and servants, every 
man by his name, and likewise the neighbours that 
dwelt round about ; and it was but by reason of the 
fear that every one was in,eachone hidinghimself,that 
we hardly escaped away. But this most holy woman, 
faithful and true to her husband (as the truth must 
be declared) and a favourite of all for her great worth, 
returned to Caesar desiring his aid and puissance, 
and obtained for her husband his soon return and 
vengeance for the injury done to him. Then willed 
Caesar that the company of Haemus should not any 
longer be, and straightway it went to wrack : so 
great was the authority and word of the Prince. 



magni principis. Tota denique factione militarium 
vexillationum indagatu confecta atque concisa, ipse 
me furatus aegre solus mediis Orci faucibus ad hunc 

8 evasi modum : sumpta veste muliebri florida in 
sinus flaccidos abundante, mitellaque textili contecto 
cap'ite, calceis femininis albis illis et tenuibus indutus 
et in sequiorem sexum incertus atque absconditus, 
asello spicas hordeacias gerenti residens per medias 
acies - infesti militis transabivi ; nam rnulierena 
putantes asinariam concedebant liberos abitus, quippe 
cum mihi etiam tune depiles genae levi pueritia 
splendicarent. Nee ab ilia tamen paterna gloria vel 
mea virtute descivi, quamquam semitrepidus iuxta 
mucrones Martios constitutus, sed habitus alieni 
fallacia tectus, villas seu castella solus aggrediens-, 
viaticulum mihi corrasi," et diloricatis statim pan- 
nulis in medium duo milia profudit aureorum, et 
" En " inquit " Istam sportulam, immo vero dotem 
collegio vestro libens rneque vobis ducem fidissimum, 
si tamen non recusatis, offero, brevi temporis spatio 
lapideam istam domum vestram facturus auream." 

9 Nee mora nee cunctatio, sed calculis omnibus 
ducatum latrones unanimes ei deferunt, vestemque 
lautiusculam proferunt sumeret abiecto centunculo 
divite : sic reformatus singulos exosculatus et in 
summo pulvinari locatus cena poculisque magnis 
inauguratur. Tune sermonibus mutuis -de virginis 


Howbeit when all my band was lost and cut up by 
search of the Emperor's army, I only stole away and 
hardly delivered myself from the very jaws of death, 
in this manner : I clothed myself in a woman's gaudy 
attire, that flowed into loose and free folds, covering 
my head with a woven cap, and placing the white and 
thin shoes of women upon my feet : and thus hidden 
and changed into the similitude of the worser sex, 
and mounted upon an ass that carried barley sheaves, 
passing through the middle of them all, I escaped 
away, because every one deemed I was a woman 
that drove asses, by reason at that time I lacked a 
beard and my cheeks shone with the colour and 
smoothness of a boy's. Howbeit I left not off for all 
this, nor did degenerate from the glory of my father 
or mine own virtue, though somewhat fearful among 
the drawn martial swords, yet disguised like a woman 
I invaded towns and castles alone to get sofne prey." 
And therewithal he pulled out two thousand crowns^ 
by ripping up his ragged coat, saying : " Hold here 
this gift, or rather this dowry which I present unto 
your brotherhood ; hold eke my person, which you 
shall always find trusty and faithful if you shall will- 
ingly receive me to be your captain : and I will 
ensure you that in so doing, within short space I will 
make and turn this stony house of yours into gold." 
Then by and by every one consented to make him 
their captain, and so they gave him a better gar- 
ment to wear and throw away his old, wherein the 
gold had been. When he had changed his attire, 
he embraced them one after another ; then placed 
they him in the highest room of the table, and 
drank unto him in great cups in token of good luck : 
and then they began to talk, and declared unto him 
the going away of the gentlewoman, and how I bare 


fuga deque mea vectura et utrique destinata mon- 
struosa morte cognoscit, et ubi locorum esset ilia 
percontatus deductusque, visa ea, ut erat vinculis 
onusta, coiitorta et vituperanti nare discessit, et 
" Non sum quidera tarn brutus vel certe temerarius " 
inquit " Ut scitum vestrum inhibearn. sed malae 
conscientiae reatum intra me sust ; ./iebo, si quod 
bonum mihi videtur dissimulavero. Sed prius fidu- 
ciam vestri causa sollicito mihi tribuite, cum praeser- 
tim vobis, si sententia baec mea displicuerit, liceat 
rursurn ad asinum redire. Nam ego arbitror latrones, 
quique eorum recte sapiunt, nihil anteferre lucro 
suo debere, ac ne ipsam quidem saepe et aliis 
damnosam ultionem. Ergo igitur si perdideritis 
in asino virginem, nihil amplius qtiam sine ullo com- 
pendio indignationem vestram exercueritis. Quin 
ego censeo deducendam earn ad quampiam civitatem 
ibique venundandam. Nee enim levi pretio distrain 
poterit talis aetatula : nam et ipse quosdam lenones 
pridem cognitos habeo, quorum poterit unus magnis 
equidem talentis, ut arbitror, puellam istam prae- 
stinare, condigne natalibus suis fornicem processuram 
nee in similem fugam discursuram ; non nihil etiam 
cum lupanari servierit, vindictae vobis depensuram. 
Hanc ex animo quidem meo sententiam conducibilem 
protuli, sed vos vestrorum estis consiliorum rerumque 

10 Sic ille latronum fisci advocatus nostram causam 
pertulerat, virginis et asini sospitator egregius ; sed in 


her upon my back, and what horrid death was 
ordained for us two. Then he asked where she was, 
whereupon being brought to the place where the 
gentlewoman was fast bound, whom as soon as he 
beheld, he turned himself despising and wringing 
his nose and blamed them, saying : " I am not so 
much a beast or so rash a fellow that I would drive 
you quite from your purpose; but my conscience 
will not suffer me to conceal anything that toucheth 
your profit, since I am careful for you ; therefore 
give me your affiance, especially seeing that if my 
counsel do displease you, you may at your own 
liberty proceed again in your enterprise to the ass. 
For I doubt not but all thieves, and such as have a 
good judgement, will prefer their own lucre and gain 
ibove all things in the world, and above their ven- 
geance which may purchase damage both to them- 
selves and to divers other persons. Therefore if 
you put this virgin in the ass's belly, you shall but 
execute your indignation against her without all 
manner of profit : but I would advise you to carry 
the virgin to some town and to sell her. And such 
a brave girl as she is, and so young, may be sold for 
a great quantity of money : and I myself know cer- 
tain bawd merchants, amongst whom peradventure 
some one will give us great sums of gold for her, 
and will lay her in a brothel equal to her good birth, 
when she shall not again run away : and so, as 
bound in slavery to a bawdy-house, you shall have 
vengeance enough of her. This is my true opinion 
touching this affair ; but advise you what you intend 
to do, for you may rule me in this case." 

In this manner the good thief pleaded for the 
thieves' treasury and defended our cause, being a 
good patron to the hapless virgin and to me poor 



diutina deliberatione ceteri cruciantes mora consilii 
mea praecordia, immo miserum spiritum, libentes 
tandem novicii latronis accedunt sententiae et pro- 
tinus vinculis exsolvunt virginem. Quae quidem 
simul viderat ilium iuvenem, fornicisque et lenonis 
audierat mentionem, coepit risu laetissimo gestire, 
ut mihi merito subiret vituperatio totius sexus, cum 
viderem puellam, proci iuvenis amore nuptiarumque 
castarum desiderio simulate, lupanaris spurci sordidi- 
que subito delectari nomine ; et tune quidem totarum 
mulierum secta moresque de asini pendebant iudicio. 
Sed ille iuvenis sermone repetito " Quin igitur/' 
inquit " Supplicatum Marti comiti pergimus et 
puellam simul vendituri et socios indagaturi ? Sed, 
ut video, nullum uspiam pecus sacrificatui ae ne 
vinum quidem potatui affatim vel sufficiens habemus. 
Decem mihi itaque legate comites, quis contentus 
proximum castellum petam, inde vobis epulas saliares 
comparaturus." Sic eo profecto ceteri copiosum 
instruunt ignem aramque caespite virenti Marti deo 

11 Nee multo post adveniunt illi vinarios litres 
ferentes et gregatim pecua comminantes : unde prae- 
lectum grandem hircum, annosum et horricomem, 
Marti secutori comitique victimant, et illico pran- 
dium fabricatur opipare. Tune hospes ille " Non 
modo " inquit " Expeditionum praedarumque, verum 
etiam voluptatum vestrarum ducem me strenuum 


ass. But they stayed hereupon a good space with 
long deliberation, which made my heart (God wot) 
and spirit greatly to quail. Howbeit in the end they 
consented freely to his opinion, and by and by the 
maiden was unloosed of her bonds ; who, seeing the 
young man, and hearing the name of brothels and 
bawd merchants, began to wax joyful, and smiled 
with herself. Then began I to deem evil of the 
generation of women, when I saw that the maiden 
(who had pretended that she had loved a young 
gentleman, and that she so greatly desired her chaste 
marriage with the same) was now delighted with 
the talk of a wicked and filthy brothel-house and 
other things dishonest. In this sort the consent 
and manners of all the race of women depended in 
the judgement of an ass. But then the young man 
spoke again, saying : " Masters, why go we not about 
to make our prayers to Mars touching this selling 
of the maiden, and seeking for other companions ? 
But as far as I see, here is no manner of beast to 
make sacrifice withal nor wine sufficient for us to 
drink. Let me have ten more with me, and we will 
go to the next town, whence I will bring you back 
a supper fit for a priest." So he and ten more with 
him went their way, and in the mean season the 
residue made a great fire and an altar with green 
turfs in the honour of Mars. 

By and by they came again, bringing with them 
bottles of wine and a great number of beasts, amongst 
which there was a big ram goat, fat, old, and hairy, 
which they killed and offered unto Mars, to help and 
be with them. Then supper was prepared sump- 
tuously; and the new companion said unto the others : 
" You ought to account me not only your captain in 
robbery and fight, but also in your pleasures and 



sentire debetis," et aggressus insigni facilitate 
naviter cuncta praeministrat. Verrit, sternit, coquit, 
tucceta concinnat, apponit scitule, sed praecipue 
poculis crebris grandibusque singulos ingurgitat. 
Interdum tamen insimulatione promendi quae posce- 
bat usus, ad puellam commeabat assidue, partesque 
surreptas clanculo et praegustatas a se potiones 
offerebat hilaris : at ilia sumebat appetenter, et non- 
nunquara basiare volenti promptis saviolis allu- 
bescebat. Quae res oppido mihi displicebat : " Hem 
oblita es nuptiarum tuique mutui cupitoris, puelJa 
virgo ? Et illi nesciocui recenti marito, quern tibi 
parentes iunxerunt, hunc advenam cruentumque 
percussorem praeponis ? Nee te conscientia stiraulat, 
sed affectione calcata inter lanceas et gladios istos 
scortari tibi libet ? Quid, si quo raodo latrones 
ceteri persenserint ? Non rursum recurres ad asinum 
et rursum exitium mihi parabis ? Re vera ludis de 
alieno corio." 

12 Dum ista sycophauta ego mecum maxima cum 
indignatione dispute, de verbis eorum quibusdam 
dubiis, sed non obscuris prudenti asino, cognosce 
non Haemum ilium praedonem famosum sed Tlepo- 
lemum sponsum puellae ipsius. Nam procedente ser- 
mone paulo iam clarius, contempta mea praesentia 
quasi vere mortui, "Bono animo es" inquit "Charite 



jollity." Whereupon by and by with pleasant cheer 
he prepared all things very cleverly ; and trimming 
up the house he set the table in order and cooked 
the meal, and brought the pottage and dainty dishes 
to the table ; but above all, he plied them well with 
great pots and jugs of wine. Sometimes (feigning 
to fetch somewhat they required) he would go to 
the maiden and give her pieces of meat which he had 
privily taken away, and would give her cups of wine 
whence he had already drunken, which she willingly 
took in good part. Moreover, he kissed her twice or 
thrice, whereof she was well pleased, and would 
gladly kiss him in return again ; but I (not well 
content thereat) thought in myself: " O wretched 
maid, hast thou forgotten thy marriage, and thy 
lover whom thou didst love, thou a virgin maid, and 
dost esteem this stranger and bloody thief above thy 
dear husband which thy parents ordained for thee ? 
Now perceive I well thou hast no remorse of con- 
science, but more delight to do utterly away with 
thy love and play the harlot here amongst so many 
weapons and swords. What, knowest thou not how 
the other thieves, if they knew thy demeanour, would 
put thee back to the ass's death as they had once 
appointed, and so work my destruction likewise ? 
Well do now I perceive that thou dost take pleasure 
and sport at the risk of another's hide." 

W T hile I did devise with myself all these things 
with an orator's indignation, I perceived by certain 
signs and tokens (which were doubtful but yet not 
ignorant to so wise an ass) that he was not the 
notable thief Haemus, but rather Tlepolemus her 
husband. For after much communication he began 
to speak more openly, not fearing any more my 
presence than if I were dead, and said : " Be of 


dulcissima, nam totos istos hostes tuos statim captives 
habebis," et instantia validipre vinum iam inmixtum, 
sed modico tepefactum vapore, sauciis illis et crapula 
vinolentiaque madidis ipse abstemius non cessat im- 
pingere. Et Hercule suspicionem mihi fecit, quasi 
soporiferum quoddam venenum cantharis immisceret 
illis. Cuncti deuique sed prorsus omnes vino sepulti 
iacebant, omues pares mortuis. Tune nullo negbtio 
artissimis vinculis impeditis ac pro arbitrio suo 
constrictis illis, imposita dorso raeo puella, dirigit 
gressum ad suam patriam. 

13 Quam simul accessimus, tota civitas ad votivurn 
conspectum effunditur. Procurrunt parentes, affines, 
clientes, alumni, famuli, laeti faciem, gaudio delibuti : 
pompam cerneres omnis sexus et omnis aetatis no- 
vurnque et Hercule memorandum spectamen, vir- 
ginem asino triumphantem. Denique ipse etiam 
hilarior pro virili parte ne praesenti negotio ut 
alienus discreparem, porrectis auribus proflatisque 
naribus rudivi fortiter, immo tonanti clamore per- 
sonui. Et illam thalamo receptam commode parentes 
sui fovebant, me vero cum ingenti iumentorum 
civiumque multitudine confestim retro Tlepolemus 
agebat 11011 invitum, nam et alias curiosus et tune 


good cheer, my sweet friend Charite, for thou shalt 
have ^by and by all these thy enemies captive unto 
thee." Then he filled wine to the thieves more and 
more, mixed with no water, but a little wanned, and 
never ceased till they were all overcome and soaked 
with abundance of drink, whereas he himself ab- 
stained and bridled his own appetite : and truly, I 
did greatly suspect that he had mingled in their 
cups some deadly poison, for incontinently they all 
fell down asleep on the ground one after another, 
drowned and overcome by the wine, and lay as 
though they had been dead. Then did he very 
easily tie them all in chains and bind them as he 
would, and he took the maiden and set her upon 
my back and went homeward. 

Now when we were near come home, all the people 
of the city (especially her parents and kinsmen, 
friends and family and servants) came running forth 
joyfully ; and all they of the town of every age and 
sex gathered together to see this new sight and 
strange, a virgin in great triumph sitting upon an 
ass. 1 Then I (not willing to show less joy than the 
rest, as far as I might as present occasion served) set 
and pricked up my long ears, blew out my nostrils, 
and cried stoutly ; nay rather I made the town to 
ring again with my shrilling sound. When we were 
come to her father's house she was received into a 
chamber honourably, and her parents tended her 
well ; as for me, Tlepolemus, with a great number of 
other citizens, did drive me back again with other 
horses to the cave of the thieves, and I was not very 

1 It has been supposed, perhaps without very much reason, 
that Apuleius intended this to be a parody of our Saviour's 
Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem. See note on Book IX. 
ch. 14. 



latronum captivitatis spectator optabam fieri. Quos 
quidem colligates adhuc vino magis quam vinculis 
deprehendiraus : totis ergo prolatis ertitisque rebus 
et nobis auro argentoque et ceteris onustis, ipsos 
partim constrictos, uti fuerant, provolutosque in 
proximas rupinas praecipites dedere, alios vero suis 
sibi gladiis obtruncates reliquere. 

Tali vindicta laeti et gaudentes civitatem reveni- 
mus : et illas quidem divitias publicae custodelae 
commisere, Tlepolemo puellam repetitam lege tradi- 
1 4 dere. Exin me suum sospitatorem nuncupatum 
matrona prolixe curitabat, ipsoque nuptiarum die 
praesepium meum hordeo passim repleri iubet 
faenumque camelo Bactrinae sufficiens apponi. Sed 
rjuas ego condignas Fotidi diras devotiones imprecer, 
quae me formavit non canem sed asinum, quippe 
cum viderem largissimae cenae reliquiis rapinisque 
canes omnes inescatos atque distentos ! Post noctem 
unicam et rudimenta Veneris recens nupta gratias 
summas apud suos parentes acmaritummihi meminisse 
non destitit, quoad summos illi promitterent honores 
habituri mihi. Convocatis denique gravioribus amicis 
consilium datur, quo potissimum pacto digne remu- 
nerarer. Placuerat uni domi me couclusum et otiosum 


unwilling, for I much desired to be present to see 
the taking of them. There we found them all asleep, 
lying on the ground as we left them, overcome 
rather by wine than by bonds : and then they first 
brought out all the gold and silver and other trea- 
sures of the house and laded us withal : which when 
they had done, they threw many of the thieves down 
into the bottom of deep cliffs hard by, and the 
residue they slew with their own swords. 

After this we returned home glad and merry of so 
great vengeance upon them, and the riches which we 
carried was committed to the public treasury, and 
this done the maid was married to Tlepolemus, 
according to the law, whom by so much travail he 
had valiantly recovered. Then my good mistress 
looked about for me, calling me her saviour and 
deliverer, and asking for me, commanded, the very 
same day as her marriage, that my manger should 
be filled with barley, and that I should have hay and 
oats abundantly, as much as would be enough for a 
camel of Bactria. But how greatly and worthily did 
I curse Fotis in that she had transformed me into an 
ass, and not into a dog, because I saw the dogs had 
filled their paunches to bursting with the relics and 
bones of so worthy a supper as they had. The next 
day, after that best of nights and her learning of 
the secrets of Venus, this new wedded woman (my 
mistress) did not forget to commend me before her 
parents and husband for the kindness I had shewed 
unto her, and never left off until such time as they 
promised to reward me with great honours. Then 
they called together all their friends of more dignity, 
to resolve in what manner it were most worthy to 
reward me ; and thus it was concluded : one said 
that I should be closed in a stable and never work, 


hordeo lecto fabaque et vicia saginari : sed obtinuit 
alius qui meae libertati prospexerat, suadens ut rure- 
stribus potius campis in greges equinos lasciviens 
discurrerem, daturus dominis equarum inscensu 
15 generoso multas mulas alumnas. Ergo igitur evocato 
statim armentario equisone magna cum praefatione 
deducendus assignor : pt sane gaudens laetusque prae- 
currebam, sarcinis et ceteris oneribus iam nunc re- 
nuntiaturus, nanctaque libertate veris initio pratis 
herbantibus rosas utique reperturus aliquas. Subibat 
me tamen ilia etiam seqtiens cogitatio, quod tantis 
actis gratiis honoribusque plurimis asino meo tributis. 
humana facie recepta, multo tanto pluribus beneficiis 
honestarer. Sed ubi me procul a civitate gregarius 
ille perduxerat, nullae deliciae ac ne ulla quidem 
libertas excipit. Nam protinus uxor eius avara 
equidem nequissimaque ilia mulier molae machinariae 
subiugum me dedit, frondosoque baculo subinde 
castigans, panem sibi suisque de meo parabat 
oorio. Nee tantum sui cibi gratia me fatigare con- 
tenta, vicinorum etiam frumenta mercenariis discur- 
sibus meis conterebat. Nee mihi misero statuta saltern 
cibaria pro tantis praestabantur laboribus : namque 
hordeum meum frictum et sub eadem mola meis quas- 
satum ambagrbus colonis proximis venditabat, mihi 
vero per diem laboriosae machinae attento sub ipsa 



but continually be fed and fatted with fine and 
chosen barley and beans and vetch ; howbeit 
another prevailed, who wished my liberty, for me 
to run lasciviously in the fields amongst the horses, 
whereby I might engender upon the mares some stout 
mules for my mistress. Therefore the groom that 
kept the horses was called for, and I was delivered 
unto him with great care, in so much that I ran 
before him right pleasant and joyous, because 1 
hoped that I should cany no more fardels 01 
burdens : moreover I thought that when I should 
thus be at liberty, in the springtime of the year, 
when the meadows and fields were green, I should 
find some roses in some place ; after which it came 
into my mind that if my master and mistress did 
render to me so many thanks and honours being 
an ass, they would much more reward me being 
turned into a man. But when he (to whom the 
charge of me was so straitly committed) had brought 
me a good way distant from the city I perceived no 
delicate meats nor any liberty which I should 
have, but by and by his covetous wife and most 
cursed quean made me a mill ass, and (beating 
me with a cudgel with many twigs) would wring 
bread for herself and her household out of my skin. 
Yet was she not contented to weary me and make 
me a drudge with carriage and grinding of her own 
corn, but she made me to grind for her neighbours 
and so earned more gain by my toil : nor would she 
give me such meat as it was ordained that I should 
have, for all my miserable labours, for my own 
barley which I ground in that same mill by my 
own goings about she would sell to the inhabi- 
tants by, and after that I had laboured all day upon 
this engine of toil, she would set before me at night 



vespera furfures apponebat incretos ac sordidos, mul- 
toque lapide salebrosos. 
16 Talibus aerumnis edomitum novis Fortuna saeva 
tradidit cruciatibus, scilicet ut, quod aiunt, domi 
forisque fortibus factis adoriae plenae gloriarer. 
Equinis armentis namque me congregem pastor 
egregius mandati dominici serus auscultator aliquando 
permisit : at ego tandem liber asinus, laetus et tripu- 
dians graduque molli gestiens equas opportunissimas 
iam mihi concubinas futuras deligebam. Sed haec 
etiam spes hilarior in capitale processit exitium 
mares enim ob admissariam Venerem l pasti satianter 
ac diu saginati, terribiles alioquin et utique quovis 
asino fortiores, de me metuentes sibi et adulterio 
degeneri praecaventes, nee hospitalis lovis servato 
foedere rivalem summo furentes persequuntur odio : 
hie, elatis in altum vastis pectoribus, arduus capite et 
sublimis vertice primoribus in me pugillatur ungulis, 

ille terga pulposis torulis obesa convertens postremis 
velitatur calcibus, alius hinnitu maligno comminatus, 
remulsis auribus dentiumque candentium renudatis 
asceis, totum me commorsicat. Sic apud historiam 
de rege Thracio legeram, qui miseros hospites ferinis 
equis suis lacerandos devorandosque porrigebat : adeo 
ille praepotens tyrannus sic parcus hordei fuit, ut 
edacium iumentorum famem corporum humanorum 
largitione sedaret. 

l This ia Oudendorp's suggestion for the MSS' admissuram 



a little filthy bran, nothing clean but caked together 
and full of stones. 

Being crushed down by this calamity, yet cruel 
fortune worked me other new torments, so that (as 
they say) I might verily boast of a full reward for all 
my brave deeds done at home and abroad : for on a 
day I was let loose into the fields to pasture with the 
herds of horses by commandment of my master, who 
so did at last obey his lord's bidding. O how I 
leaped for joy, how I brayed to see myself in such 
liberty, but especially since I beheld so many mares, 
which I thought should be my easy wives and con- 
cubines ! But this my joyful hope turned into utter 
destruction, for incontinently all the stallion horses, 
which were well fed and made strong for their duty 
by ease of pasture, terrible in any case and much 
more puissant than a poor ass, were jealous over 
me, and feared for the cuckolding of their race by 
a weakling, and (not having regard to the law and 
order of the hospitable god Jupiter) ran fiercely and 
terribly against me their rival ; one reared up his 
broad chest and high head, and lifted up his fore 
feet and kicked me spitefully, another turned to 
me his strong and brawny back, and with his hinder 
heels spurned me cruelly, the third threatening 
with a malicious neighing dressed his ears, and 
shewing his sharp and white teeth bit me on every 
side. In like sort have I read in histories how before 
the king of Thrace l would throw his miserable 
guests to be torn in pieces and devoured of his wild 
horses ; so niggish was that tyrant of his provender 
that he nourished his hungry and starveling beasts 
with the bodies of men. 

1 Diomede, king of the Bistones in Thrace. His final 
destruction was one of the twel? labours of Hercules. 



Ad eundem rnodum distractus et ipse variis eqiio- 
vum incursibus, rursus molares illos circuitus require- 
jam. Verum Fortuna meis cruciatibus insatiabilis 
al ; am mihi denuo pestem instruxit : delegor enim 
Kgno monte devehundo, puerque mihi praefectus 
jmponitur, omnibus ille quidem deterrimus. Nee me 
mentis excelsi tantum arduum fatigabat iuguin, nee 
saxeas tantum sudes incursando contribam ungulas, 
verum fustium quoque crebris ictibus prolixe dedola- 
bar, ut usque plagarum mihi medullaris insideret 
dolor ; coxaeque dexterae semper ictus incutiens et 
unum feriendo locum dissipato corio et ulceris latis 
sinii facto foramine, immo fovea vel etiam fenestra, 
nullus tamen desinebat identidem vulnus sanguine 
delibutum obtundere. Lignorum vero tanto me 
premebat pondere, ut fascium molem elephanto, non 
asino paratam putares : ille vero etiam quotiens in 
alteruin latus praeponderans declinarat sarcina, cum 
deberet potius gravantis ruinae fustes demere et 
levata paulisper pressura sanare me, vel certe in 
alterum latus translatis peraequare, contra, lapidibus 
additis insuper, sic iniquitati ponderis medebatur. 
Nee tamen post tantas meas clades immodico sar- 
cinae pondere contentus, cum fluvium transcende- 
remus, qui forte praeter viam defluebat, peronibus 
suis ab aquae madore consulens ipse quoque insuper 
lumbos meos insiliens residebat, exiguum scilicet et 
jllud tantae molis superpondium : ac si quo casu limo 
caenoso ripae supercilio lubricante oneris impatientia 


After the same manner 1 was cruelly handled by 
the horses, so that I longed for the mill again 
whereby I went round and round ; but behold 
fortune (insatiable of my torments) had devised a 
new pain for me. I was appointed to bring home 
wood every clay from a high hill, and who should 
drive me thither and home again but a boy that was 
the veriest hangman in all the world : he was not 
contented with the great travail I took in climbing 
up the steep hill, neither that my hoofs were torn 
and worn away by sharp flints, but he beat me 
cruelly and very often with a great staff, in so much 
that the marrow of my bones did ache for woe ; for 
he would strike me continually in rny right hip and 
still in one place, whereby he tare my skin and made 
of my wide sore a great hole or trench, or rather a 
window to look out at, and although it ran down of 
blood, yet would he not cease beating me in that 
place. Moreover he laded me with such great 
trusses and burdens of wood that you would think 
they had rather been prepared for elephants than 
for an ass, and when he perceived that my wood 
hanged more of one side than another (when he 
should rather take away the heavy sides and so ease 
me, or else lift them up a little, or at least put them 
over to make them equal with the other) he laid 
great stones upon the lighter side to remedy the 
matter. Yet could he not be contented with this 
my great misery and immoderate burdens of wood, 
but when we came to any river by the way, he, to 
save his boots from water, would leap upon my loins 
likewise, which was no small load upon load. And 
if by adventure I had fallen down in any dirty or 
miry place by the water-side, on the slippery bank, 
under that load too great for me to bear, when he 



prolapsus deruissem, cum deberet egregius agaso 
manum porrigere, capistro suspendere, cauda sub- 
levare, certe partem tanti oneris, quoad resurgerem 
saltern, detrahere, nullum quidem defesso mihi fere- 
bat auxilium, sed occipiens a capite, immo vero et 
ipsis auribus, totum me compilabat, ceciditque a fusti 
grandissimo, donee foment! vice ipsae me plagae sus- 
citarent. Idem mihi talem etiam excogitavit perni- 
ciem : spinas acerrumas et punctu venenato viriosas 
in fascem tortili nodo constrictas caudae meae pen- 
silem deligavit cruciatum, ut incessu meo commotae 
incitataeque funestis aculeis infeste me convulnera- 
19 rent. Ego igitur ancipiti malo laborabam : nam cum 
me cursu proripueram fugiens acerbissimos incursus, 
vehementiore nisu spinarum feriebar ; si dolori par- 
cens paululum restitissem, plagis compellebar ad 
cursum. Nee quicquam videbatur aliud exCogitare 
puer ille nequissimus quam ut me quoquo modo per- 
ditum iret, idque iurans etiam nonnunquam commina- 
batur. Et plane fuit quod eius detestabilem mali- 
tiam ad peiores conatus stimularet : nam quadam 
die, nimia eius insolentia expugnata patientia mea, 
calces in eum validas extuleram. Denique tale faci- 
nus in me comminiscitur : stuppae sarincae me satis 
onustum probeque funiculis constrictum producit in 
viam deque proxima villula spirantem carbunculum 
furatus, oneris in ipso meditullio reponit. lamque 
fomento tenui calescens et enutritus ignis surgebat 
in flammas et totum me funestus ardor invaserat, nee 

l After compilabat the MSS have cidit, which is no word 
and does not make sense. Ceciditque will construe, though 
the sudden change from imperfect to perfect is awkward. 



should have lent a hand to pull me out, or lifted 
me out by the bridle or by my tail, or taken off 
some of my load so that I might be able to rise, 
he would never help me, but laid me on from 
top to toe, yea, from my very ears, with a mighty 
staff, whereby I was compelled by force of the 
blows, as by a medicine, to stand up. The same 
hangman boy did invent another torment for me : 
he gathered a great many sharp thorns, as sharp 
as needles and of most poisonous prick, and bound 
them with knots into a bundle which he tied 
at my tail to prick me, so that as I walked they 
would swing against me and wound me sorely with 
their accursed spikes. Then was I afflicted on either 
side ; for when I endeavoured to run away from 
his bitter onslaughts the thorns pi'icked me more 
vehemently, and if I stood still to rest from the pain 
the boy beat me until I ran again, whereby I per- 
ceived that the hangman did devise nothing else 
save to kill me by some manner of means, and 
even so he would often swear and threaten to do. 
And in truth there was some occasion to stir his 
malicious mind into worse attempts ; for upon a day 
(after my patience had been altogether overcome by 
his wickedness) I lifted up my heels and spurned 
him well-favouredly. Then he invented this ven- 
geance against me : after he had well laded me with 
tow and flax, and had trussed it round safely with 
ropes upon my back, he brought me out into the 
way : then he stole a burning coal out of a man s 
house of the next village and put it into the middle 
of the load, and soon the fire caught and increased 
in the dry and light matter and burst into flames, 
and the fierce heat thereof did burn me on every 
side ; and I could see no remedy for my utter 


ullum pestis extremae suffugium nee salutis aliquod 
apparet solacium, et ustrina tales moras non sus- 

20 tinens et meliora consilia praevertitur Sed in rebus 
scaevis afFulsit Fortunae nutus hilarior, nescio an 
futuris periculis me reservans, certe praesente statu- 
taque morte liberans : nam forte pluviae pridianae 
recens conceptaculum aquae lutulentae proximum 
conspicatus, ibi memet improvido saltu totum abicio, 
flammaque prorsus extincta, tandem et pondere leva- 
tus et exitio liberatus evado. Sed ille deterrimus ac 
temerarius ptier hoc quoque suum nequissimum fac- 
tum in me retorsit, gregariisque omnibus affirmavit 
me sponte vicinorum foculos transeuntem, titubanti 
gradu prolapsum, ignem ultroneum accersisse mihi, 
et arridens addidit : " Quousque ergo frustra pasce- 
mus igninum istum ? " 

Nee multis interiectis diebus longe peioribus me 
dolis petivit. Ligno enim quod gerebam in proxi- 
mam casulam vendito vacuum me ducens, iam se 
nequitiae meae proclamans imparem miserrimumque 
istud magisterium renuens, querelas huiusmodi con- 

21 cinnat: " Videtis istum pigrum tardissimumque et 
nimis asinum ? me praeter cetera flagitia nunc nouis 
periculis etiam angit : ut quemque enim viatorem 
prospexerit, sive ilia scitula mulier sen virgo nubilis 
seu tener puellus est, illico disturbato gestamine, 
nonnunquam etiam ipsis stramentis abiectis, fur ens 
incurrit et homines amator talis appetit, et humi pro- 
stratis illis inhians illicitas atque incognitas temptat 
libidines et ferinas 1 aversa Venere invitat ad nuptias. 
Nam imaginem etiam savii mentiendo ore improbo 

I After ferinas the MSS have voluptates. This will not 
construe, and seems like a gloss on libidines or ferinas nuptias 
which has crept into the text. 



destruction, nor how I might save myself, and iri 
such a burning it was not possible for me to stand 
still, and there was no time to advise l:ett -r ; but 
fortune was favourable towards me in my misf >rtune, 
perhaps to reserve me for more dangers ; at least 
she saved me from the present death thus devised, 
for I espied a great hole full of muddy rain-water 
that fell the day before ; thither I ran hastily and 
plunged myself therein, in such sort that I quenched 
the fire and was delivered both from my load and 
from that peril. But the vile boy turned even this 
his most wicked deed upon me, and declared to all 
the shepherds about that I willingly leaped over a 
fire of the neighbours and tumbled in it and set 
myself afire. Then he laughed upon me, saying : 
" How long shall we keep this fiery ass in vain ? " 

A few days after, this boy invented another mis- 
chief much worse than the former : for when he had 
sold all the wood which I bare to certain men dwell- 
ing in a village by, he led me homeward unladm. 
And then he cried that he was not able to rule me, 
for that he was unequal to my naughtiness, and that 
he would not drive me to the hill any longer for 
wood, saying: "Do you see this slow and dull beast, 
too much an ass? Now, besides all the mischiefs 
that he hath wrought already, he inventeth daily 
more and more. For when he espieth any passing 
by the way, whether it be a fair woman or a maid 
ready for marriage, or a young boy, he will throw his 
burden from his back, yea, and often break his very 
girths, and runneth fiercely upon them. And after 
that he hath thrown them down, he will stride over 
them to take his beastly pleasure upon them. More- 
over, he will feign as though he would kiss them with 
his great and wicked mouth, but he will bite their 



compulsat ac morsicat. Quae res nobis non medio- 
cres lites atque iurgia, immo forsitan et crimina 
pariet. Nunc etiam visa quadam honesta iuvene, 
ligno quod devehebat abiecto dispersoque, in earn 
furiosos direxit impetus, et festivus hie amasio humo 
sordida prostratam mulierem ibidem incoram omnium 
gestiebat inscendere. Quod nisi ploratu questuque 
femineo conclamatum viatorum praesidium accurris- 
set ac de mediis ungulis ipsius esset erepta libera- 
taque, misera ilia compavita atque dirupta ipsa 
quidem cruciabilem cladem sustinuisset, nobis vero 
poenale reliquisset exitium." 

22 Talibus mendaciis admiscendo sermones alios, qui 
meum verecundum silentium vehementius premerent, 
anirnos pastorum in meam perniciem atrociter susci- 
tavit. Denique unus ex illis : " Quin igitur publicum 
istum maritum/' inquit " Immo communem omnium 
adulterum illis suis monstruosis nuptiis condignam 
victimamus hostiam ? " et "Heus tu, puer," ait " Ob- 
truncato protinus eo intestina quidem canibus nostris 
iacta, ceteram vero carnem omnem operariorum cenae 
reserva. Nam corium affirmatum cineris inspersu do- 
minis referemus eiusque mortem de lupo facile men- 
tiemur." Sublata cunctatione accusator ille meus 
noxius, ipse etiam pastoralis exsecutor sententiae, 
laetus et meis insultans malis calcisque illius admoni- 
tus, quam inefficacem fuisse mehercules doleo, pro- 

23 tinus gladium cotis attritu parabat. Sed quidam de 
coetu illo rusticorum " Nef'as " ait " Tarn bellum 
asinum sic enecare et propter luxuriem lasciviamque, 
amatoria protinus J opera, servitioque tarn necessario 
carere, cum alioquin exsectis genitalibus possit neque 

1 There is a gap in the best MS between amatoria and opera, 
into which a later hand has written criminatus. Protinus, 
suggested both by Leo and Plasberg, makes good seuse. 



faces cruelly, which thing may work us great dis- 
pleasure, or rather be imputed unto us as a crime ; 
and even now, when he espied an honest maiden 
passing by the highway, he by and by threw down his 
wood in a heap and ran after her; and when this 
jolly lover had thrown her upon the ground, he would 
have ravished her before the face of all the world, 
had it not been that by reason of her crying out with 
shrieks and loud lamentations, she was succoured of 
those that passed by, and pulled from his heels and 
so delivered. And if it had so come to pass that this 
fearful maiden had been slain by him by a painful 
death, what danger had we not been in ? " 

By these and like lies, he provoked the shepherds 
earnestly to my destruction, which grieved me (God 
wot) full sore that I could say nothing to defend my 
chastity. Then one of the shepherds said : " Why 
do we not make sacrifice of this common adulterous 
ass as his horrid doings deserve ? My son," quoth 
ne, " Let us kill him and throw his guts to the dogs, 
and reserve his flesh for the labourers' supper. Then 
let us cast dust upon his skin, and carry it home to 
our master, and easily feign that the wolves have 
devoured him." The boy that was my evil accuser 
made no delay, but prepared himself to execute the 
sentence of the shepherd, rejoicing at my present 
danger, and thinking upon the kick which I gave 
him ; but oh how greatly did I then repent that the 
stripe of my heel had not killed him ! Then he drew 
out his sword, and made it sharp upon a whetstone to 
slay me, but another of the shepherds began to say : 
" Verily it is a great offence to kill so fair an ass, and 
so (by accusation of luxury and lascivious wantonness) 
to lack so necessary his labour and service, where 
otherwise if you would cut off his stones, he might 



in Venereni ullo modo surgere vosque omni metu 
periculi liberate, insuper etiam longe crassior atque 
corpulentior effici. Multos ego scio iion modo asinos 
inertes, verurn etiam ferocissimos equos, nivnio libi- 
dinis laborantes atque ob id truces vesanosque, ad- 
hibita tali detestatione mansuetos ac mansues exinde 
factos, et oneri ferundo non inhabiles et cetero minis- 
terio patientes. Denique, nisi vobis suadeo nolentibus, 
possum spatio modico interiecto, quo mercatum proxi- 
mum obire statui, petitis e domo ferramentis huic 
curae praeparatis, ad vos actutum redire trucemque 
amatorem istum atque insuavem dissitis femoribus 
emasculare et quovis vervece mitiorem efficere." 
24 Tali sententia mediis Orci manibus extractus, sed 
extremae poenae reservatus, maerebam et in novis- 
sima parte corporis totum me periturum deflebam. 
Inedia denique continua vel praecipiti ruina memet 
ipse quaerebam extinguere, moriturus quidem nihilo- 
minus sed moriturus integer. Dumque in ista necis 
nieae decunctor electione, matutino me rursum puer 
ille peremptor meus contra montis suetum ducit 
vestigium. lamque me de cuiusdam vastissimae 
ilicis ramo pendulo destinato, paululum viam super- 
gressus ipse securi lignum quod deveheret recidebat, 
et ecce de proximo specu vastum attollens caput 
funesta proserpit ursa. Quam simul conspexi, 
pavidus et repentina facie conterritus totum corporis 
pondus in postremos poplites recello, arduaque cer- 
vice sublimiter elevata, lorum, quo tenebar, rumpo, 


not only be deprived of his lust, but also become 
gentle, and that we should be delivered from all fear 
of danger. Moreover, he would be thereby more fat 
and better in flesh. For I know myself as well many 
slow asses, as also most fierce horses, that by reason 
of their wantonness have been most mad and terrible, 
but (when they were gelded and cut) they have be- 
come very gentle and tame, and tractable both to 
bearing burdens and to all other use. Wherefore I 
would counsel you to geld him ; and if you consent 
thereto, I will by and by, when I have gone to the 
next market, fetch from my house mine irons and 
tools for the purpose : and I will thence immediately 
return, and I assure you that after I have gelded and 
cut off his stones, I will deliver this fierce and rude 
lover unto you as tame as a lamb." 

When I did perceive that I was delivered from 
death, but reserved for the pain of gelding, I wept 
that with the hinder part of my body I should 
perish altogether, but I sought about to kill myself 
by some manner of means, whether by fasting con- 
tinually or by throwing myself down some crag or 
precipice, to the end if I should die, I would die 
with unperished members : and while I devised with 
myself in what manner I might end my life, the 
rope-ripe boy my destroyer on the next morrow led 
me to the hill again, and tied me to a bough of a 
great oak, and in the mean season he took his 
hatchet and went a little way up and cut wood to 
load me withal. But behold there crept out of a 
cave by a marvellous great bear holding out his 
mighty head; whom when I saw, I was suddenly 
stricken in fear with the sudden sight and (throwing 
all the strength of my body into my hinder heels) 
lifted L up my strained head and broke the halter 



meque protinus pernici fugae committo, perque 
prona, non tantum pedibus verum etiam toto pro- 
iecto corpora propere devolutus immitto me campis 
subpatentibus, ex 1 summo studio fugiens immanem 
ursam ursaque peiorem ilium puerum. 
25 Tune quidam viator solitarium vagumque me 
respiciens invadit et properiter inscensum baculo 
quod gerebat obverberans per obliquam ignaramque 
me ducebat viam. Nee invitus ego cursui me com- 
modabam relinquens atrocissimam virilitatis lanienam; 
ceterum plagis non magnopere commovebar, quippe 
consuetus ex forma concidi fustibus. Sed ilia For- 
tuna meis casibus pervicax tarn opportunum latibulum 
misera celeritate praeversa novas instruxit insidias : 
pastores enim mei perditam sibi requirentes vacculam 
variasque regiones peragrantes occurrunt nobis 
fortuito, statimque me cognitum capistro prehensum 
attrahere gestiunt. Sed audacia valida resistens ille 
fidem hominum deumque testabatur : " Quid me 
raptatis ? Violenter quid invaditis ? " " Ain, te nos 
tractamus inciviliter, qui nostrum asinum furatus 
abducis ? Quin potius effaris ubi puerum eiusdem 
agasonem, necatum scilicet, occultaris ? " : et illico 
detractus ad terram pugnisque pulsatus et calcibus 
contusus infit deierans nullum semet vidisse ductorem, 

1 One MS has et ; another (the best) a gap before summo. 
Colvin's ex seems satisfactory, 


wherewith I was tied. Then there was no need to 
bid me run away, for I scoured not only on foot, but 
tumbled over the stones and rocks with my body, 
till I came into the open fields beneath, to "the in- 
tent I would escape away from the terrible bear, 
but especially from the boy that was worse than the 

Then a certain stranger that passed by the wav 
(espying me alone as a stray ass) took me up quickly 
and rode upon my back, beating me with a staff 
which he bare in his hand through a blind and un- 
known lane : whereat I was little displeased, but 
willingly went forward to avoid the cruel pain of 
gelding which the shepherds had ordained for me, 
but as for the stripes I was nothing moved, since I 
was accustomed to be beaten so every day. But for- 
tune, ever bent on my ruin, would not suffer me to 
continue in such estate long, but with wondrous 
quickness undid my timely escape and set a new 
snare for me : for the shepherds (looking about for 
a cow that they had lost), after they had sought in 
divers places, fortuned to come upon us unawares; 
who when they espied and knew me, they would 
have taken me by the halter, but he that rode upon 
my back valiantly resisted them, saying : " Good 
Lord, masters, what intend you to do ? Will you rob 
me ? " Then said the shepherds : " What, thinkest 
thou that we handle thee otherwise than thou 
deservest, which art stealing away our ass? Why 
dost thou not rather tell us where thou hast hidden 
the boy that led him, whom thou hast doubtless 
slain ? " And therewithal they pulled him down to 
the ground, beating him with their fists and spurning 
him with their feet. Then he sware unto them saying 
that he saw no manner of boy, but only found the ass 
Y 337 


sed plane continuatum solutum et solitarium ob indi- 
civae praemium occupasse, domino tameii suo resti- 
tuturum. " Atque utinam ipse asinus/' inquit 
" Quern nunquam profecto vidissem, vocem quiret 
humanam dare meaeque testimonium innocentiae 
perhibere posset ; profecto vos huius iniuriae pi- 

Sic asseverans nihil quicquam promovebat : nam 
collo constrictum reducunt eum pastores molesti con- 
tra montis illius silvosa nemora,unde lignum puer sole- 
26 bat egerere : nee uspiam ruris reperitur ille sed plane 
corpus eius membratim laceratum multisque dis- 
persum locis conspicitur. Quam rem procul dubio 
sentiebam ego illius ursae dentibus esse perfectam et 
Hercule dicerem quod sciebam, si loquendi copia 
suppeditaret : sed quod solum poteram tacitus licet 
serae vindictae gratulabar. Et cadaver quidem 
disiectis partibus tandem totum repertum aegreque 
concinnatum ibidem terrae dedere, meum vero 
Bellerophontem, abactorem indubitatum cruentum- 
que percussorem criminantes, ad casas interim suas 
vinctum perducunt, quoad renascent! die sequenti 
deductus ad magistratus, ut aiebant, poenae red- 
deretur. Interim dum puerum ilium parentes sui 
plangorlwus querebantur et adveniens ecce rusticus 
nequaquam promissum suum frustratus destinatam 
sectionem meam flagitat, " Non est " in his inquit 

loose and straying abroad, which he took up to the 
intent he might have some reward for the finding 
of him, and to restore him again to his master. " And 
I would to God," quoth he, " That this ass (which I 
would verily I had never seen) could speak as a 
man, to give witness of my innocence : then would 
you be ashamed of the injury which you have done 
to me." 

Thus reasoning for himself, he nothing prevailed, 
for those angry shepherds tied a rope about his neck 
and led him back again through the trees of the hill 
to the place where the boy accustomed to resort for 
wood. And after that they could discover him in no 
place, at length they found his body rent and torn 
in pieces, and his members dispersed in divers places, 
which I well knew was done by the cruel bear, and 
verily I would have told it if I might have spoken ; 
but (which I could only do) I greatly rejoiced at the 
vengeance of his death, although it came too late. 
Then they gathered the pieces of his body and 
hardly joined them together and buried them, and 
straightway they laid all the fault to him that was 
my Bellerophon, 1 charging him that it was he that 
took me up by the way, and had assaulted and slain 
the boy, and (bringing him home fast bound to their 
houses) purposed on the next morrow to accuse him 
of murder, and to lead him before the justices to 
have judgement of death. In the mean season, while 
the parents of the boy did lament and weep for the 
death of their son, the shepherd (according to his 
promise) came with his instruments and tools to geld 
me, and then one of them said : " Tush, our present 

1 By calling his rider Bellerophon (which Adlington merely 
translated "my new master"), the ass implies that he was a 
very Pegasus. 



unus " Indidem praesens iactura nostra, sed plane 
crastino libet non tantum naturam, verum etiam 
caput quoque ipsum pessimo isto asino demetere: 
nee tibi ministerium deerit istorum." 

Sic effectum est ut in alterum diem clades differ- 
retur mea, at ego gratias agebam bono puero, quod 
saltem mortuus unam carnificinae meae dieculam 
donasset. Nee tamen tantillum saltem gratulationi 
meae quietive spatium datum : nam mater pueri 
mortem deplorans acerbam filii, fleta et lacrimosa 
fuscaque veste contecta, ambabus manibus trahens 
cinerosam canitiem, eiulans et exinde proclamans 
stabulum irrumpit meum, tunsisque ac diverberatis 
vehementer uberibus incipit : " Et nunc iste securus 
incumbens praesepio voracitati suae deservit et 
insatiabilem profundumque ventrem semper esitaiido 
distendit, nee aerumnae meae miseretur vel detesta 
bilem casum defuncti magistri recordatur, sed scilicet 
senectam infirmitatemque meam contemnit ac de 
spicit et impune se laturum tantum scelus credit 
At utcumque se praesumit innocentem ; est enim 
corigruens pessimis conatibus contra noxiam con 
scientiam sperare securitatem. Nam pro deum 
fidem, quadrupes nequissrme, licet precariam vocis 
usuram sumeres, cui tandem vel ineptissimo per- 
suadere possis atrocitatem istam culpa carere, cum 
propugnare pedibus et arcere morsibus misello puero 
potueiis ? An ipsum quidem saepius incursare calci- 
bus potuisti, moriturum vero defendere alacritate 
simili nequisti ? Certe dorso receptum auferres 
protinus et infesti latronis cruentis manibus eriperes, 


mischief is not of his doing, but now we arc con- 
tented that to-morrow not only this vile ass's stones 
shall be cut off, but also his head, and you shall not 
lack helpers." 

So was it brought to pass that my death was 
delayed till the next morrow ; but what thanks did I 
give to that good boy who at least (being so slain) was 
the cause of my pardon for one short day ! Howbeit I 
had no time then to rest myself, for the mother of 
the boy, weeping and lamenting for his cruel death, 
attired in mourning vesture, tore her hair and threw 
ashes upon it, and beat her breast, crying and howling 
very bitterly, and came presently into the stable, 
saying : " Is it reason that this careless beast should 
do nothing all day but hold his head in the manger, 
filling and boiling his guts with meat, without com- 
passion. of my great misery or remembrance of his 
slain master? Surely, contemning my age and in- 
firmity, he thinketh that I am unable to revenge his 
great mischiefs. Moreover he would persuade me 
that he were not culpable ; indeed it agreeth with 
the manner of malefactors to hope for safety, even 
when as the conscience doth confess the offence : 
but, O good Lord, thou cursed beast, if thou couldest 
for the nonce utter the contents of thine own mind, 
whom (if he were the veriest fool in all the world) 
mightest thou persuade that this murder was void or 
without thy fault, when it lay in thy power either 
to keep off' the thieves from this poor boy with thy 
heels or else to bite and tear them with thy teeth ? 
Couldest not thou (that so oft in his lifetime didst 
spurn and kick him) defend him now from his 
death by like means? Yet at least thou shouldest 
have taken him upon thy back, and so brought him 
from the cruel hands of thieves, where contrary 


postremum deserto deiectoque illo conserve magistro 
comite pastore non solus aufugeres. An ignoras eos 
etiam, qui morituris auxilium salutare denegarint, 
quod contra bonos mores id ipsum fecerint, solere 
puniri ? Sed non diutius meis cladibus laetaberis, 
homicida : senties, efficiam, misero dolori naturales 
28 vires adesse." Et cum dicto subsertis manibus ex- 
solvit suam sibi fasciam pedesque meos singillatim 
illigans indidem constringit artissime, scilicet ne 
quod vindictae meae superesset praesidium, et 
pertica, qua stabuli fores offirmari solebant, abrepta 
non prius me desiit obtundere quam victis fessisque 
viribus, suopte pondere degravatus manibus eius 
fustis esset elapsus. Tune de brachiorum suorum 
cita fatigatione conquesta, procurrit ad focum, arden- 
temque titionem gerens mediis inguinibus obtrudit, 
donee, solo quod restabat nisus praesidio, liquida 
fimo strictim egesta faciem atque oculos eius con- 
foedassem. Qua caecitate atque faetore tandem 
fugata est a me pernicies : ceterum titione delirantis 
Altheae Meleager asinus interissem. 

l Ovid, Metamorphoses, Vlii. 451 : 

"There was a certain firebrand which, when Oeneus' wife 

did lie 

In childbed of Meleager, she chanced to espy 
The Destinies putting in the fire : and, in the putting in, 
She heard them speak these words, as they his fatal 

thread did spin ; 


thou rannest away alone, having forsaken and cast 
down thy fellow-servant, thy good master, thy pastor 
and conductor. Knowest thou not that even such as 
deny their wholesome help and aid to them which 
are in danger of death, are wont to be punished 
because they have offended against good manners 
and the law natural T But I promise thee that thou 
shalt not long rejoice at my harms, thou murderer ; 
I will ensure thee thou shalt feel the smart of my 
grief, and I will see what nature can do." There- 
withal she unloosed her apron, and bound all my feet 
together to the end I might not help myself in my 
punishment : then she took a great bar which accus- 
tomed to bar the stable door, and never ceased beat- 
ing of me till she was so exceeding weary and tired 
that the bar fell out of her hands : whereupon she 
(complaining of the soon faintness of her arms) ran 
to the fire and brought a glowing firebrand and thrust 
it under my tail, burning me continually till such time 
as (having but one remedy) I all bewrayed her face 
and eyes with my dirty dung ; whereby, what witli 
the stink thereof, and what with the filthiness that 
fell in her eyes, she was well nigh blind, and so I 
enforced the quean to leave off; otherwise I had 
died as an ass as Meleager did by the stick, which 
his mad mother Althea 1 cast into the fire. 

4 lately born, like time we give to thee and to this . 
brand * : 

And when they so had spoken, they departed out of hand. 

Immediately the mother caught the blazing bough aw:iy 

And quenched it. This bough she kept full charily many 
a day: 

And in the keeping of the same she kept her son alive." 
But when she heard that Meleager had killed her brothers as 
the result of a quarrel about the spoils of the Calydonian 
boar, she threw the brand on the fire, thus causing his death. 



1 NOCTIS gallicinio venit quidam iuvenis e proxuma 
dvitate, ut quidem mihi videbatur unus ex famulis 
Charites, puellae illius quae mecum apud latrones 
pares aerumnas exanclaverat. Is de eius exitio et 
domus totius infortunio mira ac nefanda,ignem propter 
assidens, inter conservorum frequentiam sic annun- 
tiabat: "Equisones opilionesque, etiam busequae, 
fuit Charite nobis, quae misella et quidem casu gravis- 
simo, nee vero incomituta Manes adivit. Sed ut cuncta 
noritis, referam vobis a capite quae gesta sunt, quae- 
que possent merito doctiores, quibus stilos For tuna 
subministrat, in historiae specimen chartis involvere. 

"Erat in proxuma civitate iuvenis natalibus praeno- 
bilis, quo clarus co pecuniae fuit satis locuples sed 
Urxuriae popinalis, scortisque et diurnis potationibus 
exercitatus, atque ob id factionibus latronum male 
sociatus, necnon etiam manus infectus humanocruore, 
Thrasyllus nomine : idque sic erat et fama dicebat. 

2 Hie cum primum Charite nubendo maturuisset, inter 
praecipuos procos summo studio petitionis eius munus 



ABOUT the cockcrow of night came a young man 
from the next city, which seemed to be one of the 
family of the good woman Charite which sometime 
endured so much misery and calamity with me 
amongst the thieves ; who, after that he had taken 
a stool and sat down by the fireside in the company 
of the servants, began to declare many terrible things 
that had happened unto Charite and unto her house, 
saying : " O ye horsekeepers, shepherds, and cow- 
herds, you shall understand that we have lost our 
good mistress Charite miserably and by evil adven- 
ture, but not alone did she go down to the ghosts. 
But to the end you may learn and know the whole 
matter, I purpose to tell you the circumstance of 
every point, whereby such as are more learned than 
I, to whom fortune has ministered more copious 
style, may paint it out in paper in form of an history. 
" There was a young gentleman dwelling in the 
next city, born of good parentage, valiant in prowess, 
and rich in substance, but very much given and 
addict to whore-hunting and continual revelling by 
broad day : whereby he fell in company with 
thieves, and had his hand ready to the effusion of 
human blood ; and his name was Thrasyllus. The 
matter was this according to the report of every 
man : when Charite had come to an age ripe for 
marriage, he was among the chiefest of her suitors 



obierat, et quanquam ceteris omnibus id genus viris 
antistaret eximiisque muneribus parentum invitaret 
iudicium, morum tamen improbatus repulsae contu- 
melia fuerat aspersus. Ac dum herilis puella in boni 
Tlepolemi manum venerat, firmiter deorsus delapsum 
nutriens amorem et denegati thalami permiscens in- 
dignationem, cruento facinori quaerebat accessum. 
Nanctus denique praesentiae suae tempestillam occa- 
sionem, sceleri quod diu cogitarat accingitur, ac die, 
quo praedonum infestis mucronibus puella fuerat astu 
virtutibusque sponsi sui liberata, turbae gratulantium 
exultans insigniter permiscuit sese salutique praesenti 
ac futurae suboli novorum maritorum gaudibundus, 
ad honorem splendidae prosapiae inter praecipuos 
hospites domum nostram receptus, occultato con si Ho 
sceleris, amici fidelissimi personam mentiebatur. 
lamque sermonibus assiduis et conversatione f're- 
quenti, nonnunquam etiam cena poculoque communi 
carior cariorque factus, in profundam ruinam cupidinis 
sese paulatim nescius praecipitaverat. Quidni, cum 
flamma saevi amoris parva quidem primo vapore de- 
lectet, sed fomentis consuetudinis exaestuans immo- 
dicis ardoribus totos amburat homines ? 


and very ardently sought her hand ; but although 
he were a man more comely than the residue that 
wooed her, and also had riches abundantly to 
persuade her parents, yet because he was of evil 
fame, and a man of wicked manners and conversation, 
he had the repulse and was put off by Charite. And 
so our master's daughter married with Tlepolemus ; 
howbeit this young man secretly cherished his down- 
fallen love, and moved somewhat at her refusal, he 
busily searched some means to work his damnable 
intent : and so (having found occasion and oppor- 
tunity to present himself there) he girt himself for 
the evil purpose which he had long time concealed ; 
and so he brought it to pass, that the same day that 
Charite was delivered by the subtle means and valiant 
audacity of her husband from the puissance of the 
thieves, he mingled himself amongst the assembly, 
feigning with a notable shew that he was glad above 
all others of the new marriage and of the hope of 
future offspring. Hereby (by reason that he came 
of so noble parents) he was received and entertained 
into the house as a chief guest, and falsely coloured 
himself to be one of their most principal friends : 
and so, under cloak of a faithful well-wisher, he 
dissimuled his mischievous mind and intent. In 
continuance of time, by much familiarity and often 
conversation and banqueting together, he was taken 
more and more in favour : then did he fall little by 
little and unawares into the deeper gulf of lust and 
desire. What wonder indeed ? Like as we see it 
fortuneth to lovers, who are at first delighted by the 
flame of cruel love, when as it is small, until by 
continual feeding of it with the fuel of use and 
wont, it gloweth and flameth and altogether burneth 
them up. 



3 " Diu denique deliberaverat secum Thrasyllus, quod 
nee clandestinis colloquiis opportunum repperiret 
locum, et adulterinae Veneris magis magisque prae- 
clusos aditus copia custodientium cerneret novaeque 
atque gliscentis affectionis firmissimum vinculum non 
posse dissociari perspiceret, et puellae, si vellet, 
quanquam velle non posset, furatrinae coniugalis 
incommodaret rudimentum ; et tamen ad hoc ipsum, 
quod non potest, contentiosa pernicie, quasi posset, 
impellitur : quod nunc arduum factu putatur, amore 
per dies roborato facile videtur effectu. Spectate 
denique sed, oro, sollicitis animis intendite, quorsum 
furiosae libidinis proruperint impetus. 

4 " Die quadam venatum Tlepolemus assumpto 
Thrasyllo petebat indagatui'us feras, si quid tamen 
in capreis feritatis est; nee enim Charite maritum 
suum quaerere patiebatur bestias armatas dente vel 
cornu. lamque apud frondosum turaulum ramorum- 
que densis tegminibus umbrosum, prospectu vesti- 
gatorum obsaeptis capreis, canes venationis indagini 
generosae, mandato cubili residentes invaderent 
bestias, immittuntur; statimque sollertis disciplinae 
memores, partitae totos praecingunt aditus tacitaque 
prius servata mussitatione, signo sibi repentino red- 
dito, latratibus fervidis dissonisque miscent omnia. 
Nee ulla caprea nee pavens damula nee prae ceteris 


" Thrasyllus had long pondered within himself, 
perceiving that it was a hard matter to break his mind 
secretly to Charite, and that he was wholly barred 
from accomplishment of his luxurious appetite both 
by the multitude of her guards and servitors, and 
because the love of her and her husband was so 
strongly linked together that the bond between 
them might in no wise be dissevered ; and moreover 
it was a thing impossible to ravish her, because even 
if she would, although she would not, she knew 
nothing of the arts of deceiving a spouse. Yet was 
he still provoked forward by an obstinate madness to 
that very thing which he could not, as though he 
could. At length the thing which seemeth so hard 
and difficult, when love has been fortified through 
time, doth ever at last appear easy and facile ; but 
mark, I pray you, diligently, to what end the furious 
force of his inordinate desire came. 

" On a day Tlepolemus went to the chase with 
Thrasyllus to hunt for wild beasts, but only for goats 
if indeed goats be wild beasts for his wife 
Charite desired him earnestly to meddle with no 
other beasts which were of more fierce and wild 
nature, armed with tusk or horn. When they were 
come within the chase to a great thicket on a hill, 
fortressed about with briars and thorns, they com- 
passed round the goats, which had been spied 
out by trackers ; and by and by warning was given 
to let loose the dogs, that had been bred of a noble 
stock, to rout up the beasts from their lairs. They, re- 
membering all their careful teaching, spread out and 
covered every entry; and first they did not give 
tongue, but when on a sudden the signal was given 
they rushed in with such a cry that all the forest 
a-ain with the noise ; but behold there leaped out 



feris mitior cerva, sed aper immanis atque invisitatus 
exsurgit toris callosae cutis obesus, pilis inhorrentibus 
corio squalidus, setis insurgentibus spinae hispidus, 
dentibus attritu sonaci spumeus, oculis aspectu 
minaci nammeus, impetu saevo frementis oris totus 
fulmineus; et primum quidem canum procaciores, 
quae comminus contulerant vestigium, genis hac 
iliac iactatis consectas interficit, dein calcata retiola, 
5 qua primes impetus reduxerat, transabiit. Et nos 
quidem cuncti pavore deterriti et alioquin innoxiis 
venationibus consueti, tune etiam inermes atque im- 
muniti, tegumentis frondis vel arboribus latenter ab- 
scondimus ; Thrasyllus vero nanctus fraudium oppor- 
tunum decipulum sic Tlepolemum captiose compellat : 
' Quid stupore confusi vel etiam cassa formidine 
similes humilitati servorum istorum, vel in modum 
pavoris feminei deiecti tarn opimam praedam mediis 
manibus amittimus ? Quin equos inscendimus ? 
Quin ocius indipiscimur ? En cape venabulum, et 
ego sumo lanceam ' ; nee tantillum morati protinus 
insiliunt equos ex summo studio bestiam insequentes. 
Nee tamen ilia genuini vigoris oblita retorquet im- 
petum et incendio feritatis ardescens dente compulso 
quern primum insiliat cunctabunda rimatur. Sed 
prior Tlepolemus iaculum, quod gerebat, insuper 
dorsum bestiae contorsit : at Thrasyllus ferae quidem 
pepercit sed equi, quo vehebatur Tlepolemus, pos- 
tremos poplites lancea feriens amputat. Quadrupes 
reccidens, qua sanguis effluxerat, to to tergo supinatus 


no goat, nor timid deer, nor hind, most gentle of all 
beasts, but an horrible and dangerous wild boar, such 
as no one had seen before, thick with muscles and 
brawn, with a filthy and hairy hide, his bristles rising 
along his pelt, foaming at the mouth, grinding his 
teeth, looking direfully with fiery eyes, and rushing 
like lightning as he charged with his furious jaws. 
The dogs that first set upon him he tare and rent 
with his tusks, and rifled them up and hurled them 
away on every side, and then he ran quite through 
the nets that had checked his first charges and 
escaped away. When we saw the fury of this beast, 
we were all greatly stricken with fear, and because 
we never accustomed to chase such dreadful boars, 
and further because we were unarmed and without 
weapons, we got and hid ourselves under bushes and 

"Then Thrasyllus, having found opportunity to 
work his treason, said to Tlepolemus : ' What, stand 
we here amazed ? Why shew we ourselves like 
these slaves of ours, or why leave we so worthy a 
prey to go forth from our very hands, despairing 
like some timid woman? Let us mount upon our 
horses and pursue him incontinently : take you a 
hunting javelin, and I will take a spear ' ; and by 
and by they leaped upon their horses and followed 
the beast earnestly. But he, forgetting not his 
natural strength, returned against them burning 
with the fire of his wild nature, and gnashing his 
teeth, pried with his eyes on whom he might first 
assail with his tusks: and Tlepolemus struck the 
beast first on the back with his javelin. But Thra- 
syllus attacked not the beast, but came behind and 
cut the hamstrings of the hinder legs of Tlepolemus 1 
horse, in such sort that he fell down in much blood 



invitus dominum suum devolvit ad tefram : nee 
diu, et eum furens aper invadit iacentem ac 
primo lacinias eius, raox ipsum resurgentem multo 
dente laniavit. Nee coepti nefarii bonum piguit 
amicum vel suae saevitiae litatum saltern tanto 
periculo cernens potuit expleri, sed percito atque 
plagoso, cruda vulnera contegenti suumque auxilium 
miseriter roganti per femus dexterum dimisit lanceam, 
tanto ille quidem fidentius quanto crederet ferri 
vulnera similia futura prosectu dentium : necnon 
tamen ipsam quoque bestiam facili manu transadigit. 
6 Ad hunc modum definite iuvene exciti latibulo suo 
quisque familia maesta concurrimus : at ille quan- 
quam perfecto voto, prostrate inimico laetus ageret, 
vultu tamen gaudium tegit et frontem asseverat et 
dolorem simulat, et cadaver, quod ipse fecerat, avide 
circumplexus, omnia quidem lugentium officia sol- 
lerter affinxit ; sed solae lacrimae procedere noluerunt. 
Sic ad nostri similitudinem, qui vere lamentabamur, 
conformatus manus suae culpam bestiae dabat. 

" Necdum satis scelere transacto fama dilabitur et 
cursus primos ad domum Tlepolemi detorquet et 
aures infelicis nuptae percutit. Quae quidem simul 
percepit tale nuntium quale non audiet aliud, amens 
et vecordia percita cursuque bacchata furibundo per 
plateas populosas et arva rurestria fertur, insana voce 
casum mariti quiritans : coirfluunt civium maestae 
catervae, sequuntur obvii dolore sociato, civitas cuncta 
vacuatur studio visionis. Et ecce mariti cadaver 


to the ground and threw despite his will his master : 
then suddenly the boar came upon Tlepolemus, and 
furiously tare and rent first his garments and then 
him with his teeth as he would rise. Howbeit, his 
good friend Thrasyllus did not repent of his wicked 
deed to see him thus wounded, nor was it enough 
for his cruelty only to look : but when he was gored 
and essayed to protect his fresh wounds from the 
heavy blows, and desired his friendly help, he thrust 
Tlepolcmus through the right thigh with his spear, 
the more boldly because he thought the wound of 
the spear would be taken for a wound of the boar's 
teeth : then he easily killed the beast likewise. 
And when the young man was thus miserably slain, 
every one of us came out of our holes, and went sor- 
rowfully towards our slain master. But although 
that Thrasyllus was joyful of the death of Tlepole- 
mus, whom he did greatly hate, yet he cloaked the 
matter with a sorrowful countenance, he feigned a 
dolorous face, he often embraced the body which he 
himself slew, he played all the parts of a mourning 
person, saving there fell no tears from his eyes. 
Thus he resembled us in each point (who verily, and 
not without occasion, had cause to lament for our 
master) laying all the blame of this homicide unto 
the boar. 

" Incontinently after, the sorrowful news of the 
death of Tlepolemus came to the ears of all the 
family, but especially to unhappy Charite, who, when 
she had heard such pitiful tidings, as a mad and 
raging woman ran up and down the streets and the 
country fields, crying and howling lamentably. All 
the citizens gathered together, and such as met her 
bare her company running towards the chase, so that 
all the city was emptied to see the sight. When 
z 353 


accurrit labantique spiritu totam se super corpus 

effudit ac paenissime ibidem, quam devoverat ei, 

reddidit animam. Sed aegre manibus erepta suorum 

invita remansit in vita, funus vero toto feralem pom- 

pam prosequente populo deducitur ad sepulturam. 

7 " Sed Thrasyllus nimium nimius clamare, plangere, 

et quas in primo maerore lacrimas non habebat, iam 

scilicet crescente gaudio reddere et multis caritatis 

nominibus veritatem ipsam fallere. Ilium amicum, 

coaetaueum, contubernalem, fratrem denique, addito 

nomine lugubri, ciere, necnon interdum manus Cha- 

rites a pulsandis uberibus amovere, luctum sedare, 

eiulatum coercere, verbis palpantibus stimulum do- 

loris obtundere, variis exemplis multivagi casus 

solacia nectere, cunctis tamen mentitae pietatis 

officiis studium contrectandae mulieris adhibere 

odiosumque amorem suum perperam delectando 

nutrire. Sed officiis inferialibus statim exactis puella 

protinus festinat ad maritum suum demeare, cunc- 

tasque prorsus pertemptat vias, certe illam lenem 

otiosamque nee telis ullis indigentem sed placidae 

quieti consimilem : inedia denique misera et incuria 



they met the slain body of Tlepolemus, Charite 
threw herself upon him, weeping and lamenting 
grievously for his death, in such sort that she would 
have presently ended her life upon the corpse of her 
slain husband, whom she so entirely loved, had it not 
been that her parents and friends did comfort her, 
and hardly pulled her away. Then the body was 
taken up, and in funeral pomp brought to the city 
and buried. 

" In the mean season Thrasyllus feigned much 
sorrow for the death of Tlepolemus, crying and 
beating his breast beyond all measure, but in his heart 
he was well pleased and joyful, and the tears that he 
had not for his former grief were ready to come now 
for his gladness. And to counterfeit very truth by 
words of kindness, he would come to Charite and 
say : ' O what a loss have I had, by the death of my 
friend, my fellow, my companion, my brother 
Tlepolemus ' (adding the name in a melancholy 
voice). 'O Charite, comfort yourself, pacify your 
dolour, refrain your weeping, beat not your breasts.' 
And so saying, he would hold her hands and restrain 
them, so that she might not beat her bosom : with 
soft words he would blunt the sting of her sorrow, 
and with divers examples of evil fortune he endea- 
voured to comfort her ; but he spake and did not 
this for any other intent but that in guise of friend- 
ship he might closely handle the woman, and so 
nourish his odious love with filthy delight. How- 
beit, Charite, after the burial of her husband, sought 
the means to follow him, and tried every way, but 
especially that which is most gentle and easy, nor 
requireth any weapon, but is most like to quit-t 
sleep: for she purposed to finish her life with 
starvation and neglecting herself, she buried herself 



squalida tenebris imis abscondita iam cum luce trans- 
egerat. Sed Thrasyllus instantia pervicaci, partim 
per semet ipsum, partim per ceteros familiares ac 
necessaries, ipsos denique puellae parentes extorquet 
tandem, iam lurore et illuvie paene collapsa membra 
lavacro, cibo denique confoveret. At ilia pareiitum 
suorum alioquin reverens, invita quidem verum 
religiosae necessitati succumbens, vultu non quidem 
hilaro, verum paulo sereniore obiens, ut iubebatur, 
viventium munia, prorsus in pectore, immo vero pe- 
nitus in medullis luctu ac maerore carpebat animum 
et dies totos totasque noctes insumebat luctuoso 
desiderio, et imagines defuncti, quas ad habitum dei 
Liberi formaverat, affixo servitio divinis percolens 
honoribus, ipso sese solacio cruciabat. 
8 "Verum Thrasyllus praeceps alioquin et de ipso 
nomine temerarius, priusquam dolorem lacrimae 
satiarent et percitae mentis resideret furor, et in 
sese nimietatis senio lassesceret luctus, adhuc flentem 
maritum, adhuc vestes lacerantem, adhuc capillos 
distrahentem non dubitavit de nuptiis convenire et 
imprudentiae labe tacita pectoris sui secreta fraudes- 
que ineffabiles detegere. Sed Charite vocem ne- 
fandam et horruit et detestata est et, velut gravi 
tonitru procellaque sideris vel etiam ipso diali 
fulmine percussa, corruit corpus et obnubilavit 



deep in the darkness and had done with the light 
for good and all. But Thrasyllus was very impor- 
tunate, and at length brought to pass that at the 
intercession both of himself and of the friends and 
familiars, and last of the parents of Charite, she 
somewhat refreshed her body, that was all befouled 
and well nigh broken, with refection of meat and 
bathing. Howbeit, she did it unwillingly, more at 
the commandment of her parents and the duty she 
owed to them, than for anything else : and she wore 
a calmer, but yet not a merry face, while she went 
about the duties of the living, but inwardly she 
tormented herself very greatly with grief and 
mourning : she spent whole days and nights in 
miserable longing, and there was an image of her 
husband, which she had made like unto Bacchus, 
unto which she rendered divine honours and services, 
so that she grieved herself even by her consolation. 

" In the mean season Thrasyllus, not being able 
to refrain any longer, a man bold and impatient 
according to the signification of his name, 1 before 
Charite had assuaged her dolours with tears, before 
her troubled mind had pacified her fury, before her 
grief had become less from its own abundance and 
long continuance, while she wept for her husband, 
while she tare her garments and rent her hair, 
doubted not to demand her in marriage, and so 
very rashly detected the secrets and unspeakable 
deceits of his heart. But Charite detested and 
abhorred his demand, and as she had been stricken 
with some clap of thunder, with some storm, or with 
the lightning of Jupiter, she presently fell down to 
the ground all amazed with a cloud. Howbeit in the 

1 Thrasyllus is derived from the Greek 6pa<rfo, venturous, 
bold, rash. 



animam. Sed intervallo revalescente paulatim spi- 
ritu, ferinos mugitus iterans et iam scaenam pessimi 
Thrasylli perspicieus, ad limam consilii desiderium 
petitoris distulit. Tune inter moras umbra ilia 
misere trucidati Tlepolemi sanie cruentam et pallore 
deformem attollens faciem quietem pudicam inter- 
pellat uxoris : ' Mi coniux (quod tibi prorsus ab alio 
dici non licebit) etsi pectori tuo iam perimitur nostri 
memoria, vel acerbae mortis meae casus foedus 
caritatis intercidit, quovis alio felicius maritare, modo 
ne in Thrasylli manum sacrilegam convenias, neve 
sermonem conferas nee mensam accumbas nee toro 
acquiescas. Fuge mei percussoris cruentam dex- 
teram : noli parricidio nuptias auspicari. Vulnera 
ilia, quorum sanguinem tuae lacrimae proluerunt, 
non sunt tota dentium vulnera : lancea mali Thra- 
sylli me tibi fecit alienum ' : et addidit cetera 
9 omnemque scaenam sceleris illuminavit. At ilia, ut 
primum maesta quieverat toro faciem impressa, etiam 
nunc dormiens lacrimis emanantibus genas cohumidat 
et velut quodam tormento inquieta quieti excussa, 
luctu redintegrate prolixum eiulat, 1 discissaque in- 
terula decora brachia saevientibus palmulis conver- 
berat. Nee tamen cum quoquam participatis noc- 

1 The end <>f ch. 7 and the beginniug of ch. 8, as well as the 
end of ch. 8 and the beginning of ch. 9, have suffered by a bad 
tear in the parchment of the best MS. In both passages the 
text is a little uncertain. 



end, when her spirits were revived and that she 
returned to herself crying and shrieking like some 
beast, remembering all that had passed with the 
wicked Thrasyllus, she demanded respite to de- 
liberate and to take advice on the matter. 

" In the mean season of delay the shape of 
Tlepolemus that was slain so miserably appeared to 
Charite as she chastely slept, with a pale and bloody 
face, saying : ' O my sweet wife (a name which no 
other person shall say but I), even if the memory of 
me in thy heart groweth dim, or the remembrance 
faileth of my pitiful death, in so much that our bond 
of love hath been severed, marry happily with any 
other person, so that you marry not with the traitor 
Thrasyllus ; have no conference with him, eat not 
with him, lie not with him ; avoid the bloody hand 
of mine enemy, let not thy marriage be begun with 
parricide. 1 For those wounds, the blood whereof 
thy tears did wash away, were not all the wounds 
of the teeth of the boar, but the spear of wicked 
Thrasyllus parted me from thee.' Thus spoke 
Tlepolemus unto his loving wife, and declared the 
whole residue of the damnable fact. But Charite 
lay as she had first fallen asleep, with her face 
buried in her pillow ; now she wetted her cht t k> 
with her welling tears : and now aroused as by some 
new anguish, she began to cry aloud as if sh< 
renewed her dolour, to tear her garments, and t<> 
beat her comely arms with her furious hands : 
howbeit she revealed the vision which she saw to 

* Parricide had in Roman K-pal phraseology a much wi.i.-r 
sense than the English word. The murder of u free man, or an v 
assassination or treachery, was called parricidal ; and a woman i 
marriage with her husband's murderer would be in tin- sunn- 



turnis imaginibus, sed indicio facinoris prorsus 
dissimulate, et nequissimum percussorem punire et 
aerumnabili vitae sese subtrahere tacita decernit. 
Ecce rursus improvidae voluptatis detestabilis petitor 
aures obseratas de nuptiis obtundens aderat : sed 
ilia clementer aspemata sermonem Thrasylli astuque 
miro personata instanter garrienti summisseque 
deprecanti ' Adhuc ' inquit ' Tui fratris meique 
carissimi mariti facies pulchra ilia in meis deversatur 
oculis, adhuc odor cinnameus ambrosei corporis per 
nares meas percurrit, adhuc formosus Tlepolemus in 
meo vivit pectore. Boni ergo et optimi consules, si 
luctui legitimo miserrimae feminae necessarium con- 
cesseris tempus, quoad residuis mensibus spatium 
reliquum compleatur anni, quae res cum meum 
pudorem, turn etiam tuum salutare commodum 
respicit, ne forte immaturitate nuptiarum indigna- 
tione iusta manes acerbos mariti ad exitium salutis 
tuae suscitemus.' 

10 "Nee isto sermone Thrasyllus sobriefactus vel 
saltern tempestiva pollicitatione recreatus identidem 
pergit linguae sauciantis susurros improbos inurguere, 
quoad simulanter revicta Charite suscipit : ' Istud 
equidem certe magnopere deprecanti concedas 
necesse est mihi, mi Thrasylle, ut interdum taciti 
clandestinos coitus obeamusnecquisquam persentiscat 
familiarium, quoad dies reliquos metiatur annus.' 
Promissioni fnllaciosae mulieris oppressus succubuit 
Thrasyllus et prolixe consentit de furtivo concubitu, 


no manner of person, but dissembling that she knew 
the truth of the mischief, devised silently with herself 
how she might be revenged on the wicked murderer, 
and finish her own life, to end and knit up all sorrow. 
Again came Thrasyllus the detestable demander of 
the pleasure that should betray him, and wearied 
the closed ears of Charite with talk of marriage ; but 
she, gently refusing his communication, and colouring 
the matter with passing craft in the midst of his 
earnest desires and humble prayers, began to say : 
' Thrasyllus, you shall understand that yet the 
comely face of your brother l and my husband is 
always before mine eyes ; I smell yet the cinnamon 
scent of his precious body, I yet feel Tlepolemus 
alive in my heart : wherefore you shall do well it 
you grant to me, miserable woman, necessary time 
to bewail his death, until after the residue of a few 
months the whole year may be expired, which thing 
toucheth as well my shame as your wholesome profit, 
lest peradventure by our speedy and quick marriage 
we should justly raise and provoke the resentful 
spirit of my husband to work your destruction.' 

" Howbeit Thrasyllus was not contented with this 
speech, nor even cheered by her hopeful promise, 
but more and more was earnest upon her, to whisper 
wickedly in her ear with his busy tongue, in so much 
that she was enforced to seem conquered by him, 
and to speak to him in this manner : ' My friend 
Thrasyllus, this one thing must thou grant to my 
earnest prayers, that we should take our pleasure in 
such sort and so secret, that no servant of the house 
may perceive it until the whole year be complete 
and finished.' Then Thrasyllus, trusting the false 
promises of the woman, consented gladly to her 
1 Brother-in-aruis, fellow, comrade, as in ch. 7 above. 



noctemque et opertas exoptat ultro tenebras, uno po- 
tiundi studio postponens omnia. ' Sed heus tu,' inquit 
Charite'Quam probe veste contectus omnique comite 
viduatus prima vigilia tacitus fores meas accedas uno- 
que sibilo contentus nutricem istara meam opperiare, 
quae claustris adhaerens excubabit adventuituo : nee 
setius patefactis aedibus acceptum te oullo lumine 
conscio ad meum perducet cubiculum.' 

11 " Placuit Thrasyllo scaena feralium nuptiarum : 
nee sequius aliquid suspicatus sed expectatione turbi- 
dus de diei tantum spatio et vesperae mora quere- 
batur. Sed ubi sol tandem nocti decessit, ex 
imperio Charites adornatus et nutricis captiosa 
vigilia deceptus irrepit cubiculum pronus spei. Tune 
anus de iussu dominae blandiens ei furtim de- 
promptis calicibus et oenophoro, quod immixtum 
vino soporiferum gerebat venenum, crebris potioni- 
bus avide ac secure haurientem, mentita dominae 
tarditatem, quasi parentem assideret aegrotum, 
facile sepelivit ad somnum. lamque eo ad omnes 
iniurias exposito ac supinato, introvocata Charite 
masculis animis impetuque diro fremens invadit ac 

12 supersistit sicarium : 'En' inquit 'Fidus coniugis 
mei comes, en venator egregius, en carus maritus. 
Haec est ilia dextera quae meum sanguinem fudit, 
hoc pectus quod fraudulentas ambages in meum 
concinnavit exitium, oculi isti quibus male placui, 



secret embraces, and was joyful in his heart and 
looked for night, when as he might have his purpose, 
preferring his inordinate pleasure above all things in 
the world. ' But come you quietly about midnight,' 
said Charite, ' Covered up and disguised without all 
company. And do but hiss at my chamber-door, 
and await; my nurse shall attend sitting before the 
barrier for thy coming. Then shall she let thee in, 
and bring thee without any light, that might betray 
us, to my sleeping-room.' 

" This counsel of fatal marriage pleasedThrasyllus 
marvellously ; who, suspecting no harm, and in a tur- 
moil of expectation, did always complain that the day 
was long and the evening came not : but when at last 
the sun gave way to the night, according to Charite's 
commandment he disguised himself and went 
straight, full of hope, to her chamber, where he 
found the nurse attending for him with feigned 
diligence. She (by the appointment of her mistress) 
fed him with flattering talk, brought silently cups and 
a flagon, and gave him drink mingled and doled 
with sleepy drugs, excusing the absence of her 
mistress Charite by reason that she attended on her 
father being sick, until such time that with sweet 
talk and operation of the wine (for he drank 
greedily and suspected nothing) he fell in a sound 
sleep. Now when he lay prostrate on the ground 
ready to all attack, Charite (being called for) 
came in, and with manly courage and bold force 
stood over this sleeping murderer, saying : ' Behold 
the faithful companion of my husband, behold this 
valiant hunter, behold my dear spouse ; this is the 
hand which shed my blood, this is the heart which 
hath devised so many subtle means to work my 
destruction, these be the eyes whom I have pleased 



qui quodam modo futuras tenebras auspicantes 
venientes poenas antecedunt. Quiesce securus, 
beate somniare. Non ego gladio, non ferro petam : 
absit ut simili mortis genere cum marito meo 
coaequeris. Vivo tibi morientur oculi, nee quicquam 
videbis nisi dormiens. Faxo feliciorem necem 
inimici tui quam vitam tuam sentias. Lumen certe 
non videbis, manu comitis indigebis, Chariten non 
tenebis, nuptias non frueris, nee mortis quiete 
recreaberis nee vitae voluptate laetaberis, sed in- 
certum simulacrum errabis inter Orcum et solem ; 
et diu quaeres dexteram quae tuas expugnavit 
pupulas, quodque est in aerumna miserrimum, 
nescies de quo queraris. At ego sepulchrum mei 
Tlepolemi tuo luminum cruore libabo et sanctis 
manibus eius istis oculis parentabo. Sed quid mora 
temporis dignum cruciatum lucraris et meos forsitan 
tibi pestiferos imaginaris amplexus ? Relictis som- 
nolentis tenebris ad aliam poenalem evigila cali- 
ginem : attolle vacuam faciem, vindictam recognosce, 
infortunium intellege, aerumnas computa. Sic 
pudicae mulieri tui placuerunt oculi, sic faces nup- 
tiales tuos illuminarunt thalamos. Ultrices habebis 
pronubas, et orbitatem comitem et perpetuae con- 
scientiae stimulum.' 

13 "Ad hunc modum vaticinata mulier acu crinali 


to my ill : behold how in a manner they foreshewed 
their own destined punishment when they prayed 
for the darkness to come. Sleep careless, dream 
that thou art in the hands of the merciful, for I will 
not hurt thee with thy sword or with any other 
weapon ; God forbid that I should make thee equal 
to my husband by a like death. But thy eyes 
shall fail thee still living, and thou shalt see no 
more save when thou dreamest: I will see to 
it that thou shalt think the death of thine enemy 
more sweet than thy life : of a surety thou shalt see 
no light, thou shalt lack the aid of a leader, thou 
shalt not have me as thou hopest, thou shalt have no 
delight of my marriage, thou shalt have no rest in 
the quiet of death, and yet living thou shalt have no 
joy, but wander between the light of day and the 
darkness of hell as an unsure image : thou shalt seek 
for the hand that pricked out thy eyes, yet shalt 
thou not know (the most grievous part in all calamity) 
of whom thou shouldst complain : I will make libation 
with the blood of thine eyes upon the grave of my 
husband, I will pacify his holy shade with these eyes 
of thine. But why dost thou gain respite of thy due 
torment through my delay ? Perhaps thou dreamest 
that thou embracest me in thine arms to thine own 
ruin : leave off the darkness of sleep, and awake 
thou to receive a penal deprivation of light : lift up 
thy sightless face, regard thy vengeance and evil 
fortune, reckon thy misery : so pleaseth thine eyes 
to a chaste woman, so have the nuptial torches 
lightened thy couch, that thou shalt have the Furies 
to be women of thy bedchamber, blindness to be 
thy companion, and an everlasting prick of remorse 
to thy miserable conscience.' 

"When she had prophesied in these words, she 


capite deprompta Thrasylli convulnerat tola lumina 
eumque prorsus exoculatum relinquens, dum dolore 
nescio crapulam cum somno discutit, arrepto nudo 
gladio quo se Tlepolemus solebat incingere, per 
mediam civitatem cursu furioso proripit se, procul 
dubio nescioquod scelus gestiens et recta monimentum 
mariti contendit. At nos et omnis populus nudatis 
totis aedibus studiose consequimur, hortati mutuo 
ferrum vesanis extorquere manibus. Sed Charite 
capulum Tlepolemi propter assistens gladioque ful- 
genti singulos abigens, ubi fletus uberes et lamenta- 
tiones varias cunctorum intuetur, ' Abicite ' inquit, 
' Importunas lacrimas, abicite luctum tneis virtutibus 
alienum. Vindicavi in mei mariti cruentum peremp- 
torem, punita sum funestum mearum nuptiarum 
praedonem. lam tempus est ut isto gladio deorsus 
14 ad meum Tlepolemum viam quaeram.' Et enarratis 
ordine singulis quae sibi per somnium nuntiaverat 
maritus quoque astu Thrasyllum inductum petisset, 
ferro sub papillam dexteram transadacto corruit et in 
suo sibi pervolutata sanguine postremo balbutiens 
incerto sermone proflavit animam virilem. Tune 
propere familiares miserae Charites accuratissime 
corpus ablutum unita sepultura ibidem marito per- 
petuam coniugem reddidere. Thrasyllus vero cognitis 
omnibus, nequiens idoneum exitum praesenti cladi 



took a great needle from her head and pricked out 
both his eyes: which done, leaving him blind and 
waking in great pain (though he knew not whence it 
came) from his drunkenness and sleep, she by and 
by caught the naked sword which her husband 
Tlepolemus accustomed to wear, and ran throughout 
all the city like a mad woman towards the sepulchre 
uf her husband, doubtless bent on some wild purpose. 
Then we with all the citizens left our houses and ran 
incontinently after her, exhorting each other to take 
the sword out of her furious hands ; but she, clasping 
about the tomb of Tlepolemus, kept us off with her 
naked weapon, and when she perceived that every 
one of us wept and lamented, she spake in this sort : 
' I pray you, my friends, let there be no unasked 
tears for me nor laments unworthy of my courage, 
for I am revenged of the death of my husband, I 
have punished deservedly the wicked breaker of our 
marriage 1 ; now is it time to seek out with this sword 
the way to my sweet Tlepolemus.' And therewithal, 
after she had made relation of the whole matter which 
was declared unto her by the vision of her husband 
which she saw, and told by what means she deceived 
Thrasyllus, thrusting the sword under her right 
breast and wallowing in her own blood, she babbled 
some uncertain words and at length with manly 
courage yielded up the ghost. Then immediately 
the friends of miserable Charite did wash carefully 
her body and bury her within the same sepulchre with 
Tlepolemus to be his spouse for ever. Thrasyllus, hear- 
ing all the matter, and knowing that by no death he 
could fitly atone for this present ruin, for he thought 

l The Latin can also (and perhaps better) bear the meaning 
of "the robber of my marriage" in the sense of one who 
would force her to marry him by fraud or violence. 



reddere certusque tanto facinori nee gladium sufficere, 
sponte delatus ibidem ad sepulchrum, ' Ultronea 
vobis, infesti Manes, en adest victima ' saepe cla- 
mitans, valvis super sese diligenter obseratis inedia 
statuit elidere sua sententia damnatum spiritum." 
15 Haec ille longos trahens suspiritus et nonnunquam 
illacriraans graviter affectis rusticis annuntiabat. 
Tune illi mutati dominii novitatem metuentes et 
infortunium domus herilis altius miserantes fugere 
comparant. Sed equorum magister qui me curandum 
niagna ille quidem commendatione susceperat, quid- 
quid in casula pretiosum conditumque servabat meo 
atque aliorum iumentorum dorso repositum asportans 
sedes pristinas deserit. Gerebamus infantulos et 
muliereSj gerebamus pullos, anseres, haedos, catellos, 
et quidquid infirmo gradu fugam morabatur, iiostris 
quoque pedibus ambulabat. Nee me pondus sarcinae, 
quanquam enormis, urguebat, quippe gaudiali fuga 
detestabilem ilium exsectorem virilitatis meae relin- 

Silvosi mentis asperum permensi iugum rursusque 
reposita camporum spatia pervecti, iam vespera se- 
mitam tenebrante, pervenimus ad quoddam castellum 
frequens et opulens, unde nos incolae nocturna, immo 
vero matutina etiam prohibebant egressione : lupos 
enim numerosos, grandes et vastis corporibus sarci- 
nosos ac niinia ferocitate saevientes, passim rapinis 


his sword was not sufficient to revenge so great a crime, 
at length went of himself to the same sepulchre, and 
cried with a loud voice, saying: 'O ye dead spirits 
whom I have so highly offended, receive me ; behold 
I make sacrifice unto you with my body ' : which 
said he closed the doors of the sepulchre upon him, 
purposing to famish himself, and so finish his life 
there and yield up his accursed ghost in sorrow." 

These things the young man with pitiful sighs 
and tears declared unto the cowherds and shepherds, 
which caused them all to weep ; but they, tearing to 
become subject unto new masters, and pitying deeply 
the misery of their master's house, prepared them- 
selves to depart away ; but by and by the horse- 
keeper, to whom the charge of me so carefully 
had been committed, brought forth all the precious 
things that were stored in his cottage, and buU-d 
me and other horses withal, and so departed thence 
from his former place : we bare women, children, 
pullets, geese, kids, whelps, and other things which 
were not able to keep pace with us, which so 
travelled upon our feet. As for that which I bare 
upon my back, although it was a mighty burden, 
yet seemed it but light because I was very glad to 
depart and leave him that most terribly had ap- 
pointed to geld me. 

When we had passed over a great mountain full 
of trees and were come again into the open fields, 
behold we approached nigh to a fair and rich castle, 
where it was told unto us that we were not able to 
pass in our journey that night, nay, nor in the early 
morning either, by reason of the great number of 
terrible wolves which were in the country about, 
besieging all the roads; so great in their body ami 
fierce and cruel, that they put every man in fear, in 
2 A S69 


assuetos infestare cunctam illam regionem, iamque 
ipsas vias obsidere et in modum latronum praeter- 
euntes aggredi, imrao etiam vesana fame rabidos 
finitiraas expugnare villas exitiumque inertissiraorum 
pecudum ipsis iam humanis capitibus imminere. 
Denique ob iter illud, qua nobis erat commeandum, 
iacere semesa hominum corpora suisque visceribus 
nudatis ossibus cuncta candere ac per hoc nos quo- 
que summa cautione viae reddi debere idque vel 
in primis observitare, ut luce clara et die iam pro- 
vecto et sole florido, vitantes undique latentes in- 
sidias, cum et ipso lumine dirarum bestiarum repi- 
gratur impetus, non laciniatim disperse sed cuneatim 
stipato commeatu difficultates illas transabiremus. 
i 6 Sed nequissimi fugitivi ductores illi nostri caecae 
festinationis temeritate ac metu incertae insecutionis, 
spreta salubri monitione nee expectata luce proxuma, 
circa tertiam ferme vigiliam noctis onustos nos ad 
viam propellunt. Tune ego metu praedicti periculi 
quantum pote turbae medius et inter conferta iu- 
menta latenter absconditus clunibus meis ab ag- 
gressionibus ferinis consulebam, iamque me cursu 
celeri ceteros equos antecellentem mirabantur omnes ; 
sed ilia pernicitas non erat alacritatis meae sed for- 
midinis indicium. Denique mecum ipse reputabam, 
Pegasum inclutum ilium metu magis volaticum 
fuisse ac per hoc merito pinnatum proditum, dum 
in altum et adusque caelum sussilit ac resultat, 


such sort that they would invade and set upon such 
which passed by like thieves, and devour them and 
their beasts : and sometimes they would be mad 
with hunger and would attack the country-farms 
that lay hard by, and that the same death as of the 
peaceful cattle would await the men therein. More- 
over, we were advertised that there lay in the way 
where we should pass many dead bodies, half eaten 
and torn with wolves, and their inward flesh was all 
torn away and the white of their bones was every- 
where to be seen. Wherefore we were willed to use 
all caution in our going, and to observe this above 
all, .that in broad light, when the day was well on 
and the sun was high, and the fierceness of such 
horrible beasts was constrained by the light, to go 
close and round together, avoiding all hidden lairs, 
whereby we might pass and escape all perils and 
dangers. But (notwithstanding this good counsel) 
our caitiff drivers were so covetous to go forward, 
being rash in their blind haste, and so fearful of 
pursuit, that they never heeded the advice nor 
stayed till the morning : but In- ing not long past 
midnight, they made us be laden and trudge in 
our way apace. .Then I, fearing the great danger 
which was foretold, ran amongst the middle of the 
other horses and hid there as deep as I could, to the 
end I might defend and save my poor buttocks from 
the wolves : whereat every man much marvelled to 
see that I scoured away swifter than the other horses : 
but such my agility, was not to get me any praise 
for speed, but rather a sign of fear. At that time 
I remembered with myself that the valiant horse 
Pegasus did fly rather for fear and for that was 
deservedly called winged, that he did leap up in the 
air and skip up to the very sky, more to avoid the 



formidans scilicet igniferae morsum Chimaerae. Nam 
et illi pastores qui nos agebant in speciem proelii 
manus obarmaverant : hie lanceam, ille venabulum, 
alius gerebat spicula, fustem alius, sed et saxa, quae 
salebrosa semita largiter subministrabat ; erant qui 
sudes praeacutas attollerent, plerique tamen ardenti- 
bus facibus proterrebant feras : nee quicquam praeter 
unicam tubam deerat quin acies esset proeliaris. Sed 
nequicquam frustra timorem ilium satis inanem per- 
functi longe peiores inhaesimus laqueos : nam lupi, 
forsitan confertae iuventutis strepitu vel certe nimia 
luce flammarum deterriti vel etiam aliorsum gras- 
santes, nulli contra nos aditum tulerunt ac ne procul 
17 saltern ulli comparuerant. Villae vero, quam tune 
forte praeteribamus, coloni, multitudinem nostram 
latrones rati, satis agentes rerum suarum eximieque 
trepidi canes rabidos et immanes et quibusvis lupis 
et ursis saeviores, quos ad tutelae praesidia curiose 
fuerant alumnati, iubilationibus solitis et cuiuscemodi 
vocibus nobis inhortantur, qui praeter genuinam 
ferocitatem tumultu suorum exasperati contra nos 
ruunt, et undique laterum circumfusi passim insiliunt 
ac sine ullo dilectu iumenta simul et homines lace- 
rant diuque grassati plerosque prosternunt. Cerneres 
non tarn Hercule memorandum quam miserandum 
etiam spectaculum, canes copiosos ardentibus animis 
alios fugientes arripere, alios stantibus inhaerere, 
quosdam iacentes inscendere et per omnem nostrum 
commeatum morsibus ambulare. Ecce tanto peri- 

dangerous bite of fiery Chimaera than for anything 
else. For the very shepherds which drove us before 
them were well armed like warriors for battle : one 
had a spear, another had a hunting lance, some had 
darts, some clubs, some also gathered up great stones, 
of which there were many upon that rough road, 
some held up sharpened stakes, and most feared away 
the wolves with light firebrands : finally we lacked 
nothing to make up an army but only trumpets. 
But when we had passed these dangers not without 
small fear, though it was vain and empty, all was in 
vain, for we fortuned to fall into a snare much 
worse ; for the wolves came not upon us, either 
because of the great noise and multitude of our 
company, or else because of our firebrands, or perad- 
venture they were gone to some other place, for we 
could see none, even afar off. But the inhabitants of 
the next village (supposing that we were thieves by 
reason of our great multitude) for the defence of 
their own substance, and for the fear they were in, 
set great and mighty mastiffs upon us, worse than any 
wolves or bears, which they had kept and nourished 
for the safety of their houses ; who were both by 
nature very fierce and were urged on by their masters, 
holloing after their wont and driving them with all 
manner of cries ; they, compassing us round about, 
leaped on every side, tearing us with their teeth, 
both man and beast, in such sort that they 
wounded and pulled many of us to the ground. 
Verily, it was a famous but a pitiful sight to see so 
many dogs all mad with fury, some following such as 
fled, some invading such as stood still, some leaping 
upon those which lay prostrate, and going through- 
out the whole of our company with savage biting. 
Behold, upon this, another worse danger ensued; 



culo malum niaius insequitur : de summis enimtectis 
ac de proxumo colle rusticani illi saxa super nos 
raptim devolvunt, ut discernere prorsus nequire- 
mus qua potissimura caveremus clade, comminus 
canum an eminus lapidum. Quorum quidem unuS 
caput mulieris, quae meum dorsum residebat, re- 
pente percussit : quo dolore commota statim fletu 
cum clamore sublato maritum suum pastorem ilium 
j 8 suppetiatum ciet. At ille deum fidem clamitans et 
cruorem uxoris abstergens altius quiritabat : " Quid 
miseros homines et laboriosos viatores tarn crudelibus 
animis invaditis atque obteritis? Quas praedas 
inhiatis ? Quae damna vindicatis ? At non speluncas 
ferarum vel cautes incolitis barbarorum, ut humano 
sanguine profusogaudeatis." Vix haec dicta, et statim 
lapidum congestus cessavit imber et infestorum canum 
revocata conquievit procella. Unus illinc denique de 
summo cupressus cacumine " At nos " inquit " Non 
vestrorum spoliorum cupidine latrocinamur, sed hanc 
ipsam cladem de vestris protelamus manibus : iam 
denique pace tranquilla securi potestis incedere." Sic 
ille, sed nos plurifariam vulnerati reliquam viam 
capessimus, alius lapidis, alius morsus vulnera refer- 
entes, universi tamen saucii. 

Aliquanto denique viae permenso spatio pervenimus 
ad nemus quoddam proceris arboribus consitum et 
pratentibus virectis amoenum, ubi placuit illis ductori- 
bus nostris refectui paululum conquiescere corporaque 
sua diverse laniata sedulo recurare. Ergo passim 
prostrati solo primum fatigatos animos recuperare ac 


the inhabiters of the town stood upon their roofs 
and the hills hard by, throwing great stones upon 
our heads, so that we could not tell whether it 
were best for us to avoid the gaping mouths of the 
dogs at hand, or the peril of the stones afar. Amongst 
whom there was one that hurled a great flint upon 
the head of a woman which sat upon my back ; 
who cried out piteously, desiring her husband, the 
shepherd, to help her. Then he (coming to wipe off 
the blood from his wife) began to complain in this 
sort, calling upon God's name : " Alas, masters, what 
mean you to trouble us poor labouring men and 
wayfarers and so cruelly to overcome us? What 
think you to gain by us ? What mean you to revenge 
yourselves upon us, that do you no harm ? You dwell 
not in caves or dens, you are no people barbarous 
that you should delight in effusion of human blood." 
At these words the tempest of stones did cease, and 
the storm of the dogs was called back and vanished 
away. Then one (standing on the top of a great 
cypress-tree) spake unto us, saying : " Think you not, 
masters, that we do this to the intent to rifle or take 
away any of your goods, but for the safeguard ot 
ourselves and family from a like slaughter at your 
hands; now in God's name you may depart away." 
So we went forward, some wounded with stones, 
some bitten with dogs, but generally there was none 
which escaped free. 

When we had gone a good part of our way we 
came to a certain wood environed with great trees, 
and compassed about with pleasant meadows, where 
the shepherds, our guides, appointed to continue a 
certain space for rest, to cure their divers wounds 
and sores. Then they sat down on the ground to 
refresh their weary minds, and afterwards they 



dehinc vulneribus medelas varias adhibere festinant : 
hie cruorem praeterfluentis aquae rore deluere, 
ille spongeis inacidatis tumores comprimere, alius 
fasciolis hiantes vincire plagas. Ad istum modum 
saluti suae quisque consulebat. 

19 Interea quidam senex de summo colle prospectat, 
quern circum capellae pascentes opilionem esse pro- 
fecto clamabant. Eum rogavit unus e nostris ha- 
beretne venui lactem vel adhuc liquidum* vel in ca- 
seum recentem inchoatum. At ille diu capite 
quassanti " Vos autem " inquit " De cibo vel poculo 
vel omnino ulla refectione nunc cogitatis ? An nulli 
scitis quo loco consederitis ? " Et cum dicto conductis 
oviculis conversus longe recessit. Quae vox eius et 
fuga pastoribus nostris non mediocrem pavorem 
incussit : ac dum perterriti de loci qualitate sciscitari 
gestiunt nee est qui doceat, senex alius, magnus ille 
quidem, gravatus annis, totus in baculum pronus et 
lassum trahens vestigium, ubertim lacrimans per 
viam proximat, visisque nobis cum fletu maximo 
singulorum iuvenum genua contingens sic adorabat : 

20 " Per fortunas vestrosque genios, sic ad meae senec- 
tutis spatia validi laetique veniatis, decepto seni sub- 
sistite meumque parvulum ab inferis ereptum canis 
meis reddite. Nepos namque meus et itineris huius 
suavis comes dum forte passerem incantantem 
saepiculae consectatur arripere, delapsus in proxumam 
foveam, quae fruticibus imis subpatet, in extreme iam 
vitae consistit periculo, quippe cum de fletu ac voce 


sought for medicines to heal their bodies: some 
washed away their blood with the Mater of the 
running river, some laid upon their bruises sponges 
steeped with vinegar, some stopped their wounds 
with clouts ; in this manner every one provided for 
his own safety. 

In the mean season we perceived an old man that 
looked from the top of an hill, who seemed to be a 
shepherd by reason of the goats and sheep that fed 
round about him : then one of our company demanded 
whether he had any milk to sell, whether new drawn 
or freshly made into cheese. To whom he made 
answer, shaking his head, saying : " Do you think 
now of any meat or drink, or any other refection 
here ? Know none of you in what place you be ? " 
And therewithal he took his sheep and drove them 
away as fast as he might possible. This answer and 
his fleeing away made our shepherds greatly to fear, 
so that they thought of nothing else but to enquire 
what country they were in : howbeit, they saw no 
manner of person of whom they might demand. At 
length, as they were thus in doubt, they perceived 
another old man very tall and heavy with years, with 
a staff in his hand and very weary footsteps, who, 
approaching nigh to our company, began to weep 
greatly and complain, embracing the knees of every 
one and saying: 

" Alas, masters, I pray you by your fates and lucky 
spirits, may you come to the years of old age strong 
and joyful, as you shall succour me, miserable caitiff, 
and restore my little one from Hell to my white hairs 
again. For he, my grandson, the dear companion of 
my path, by following a sparrow that sang upon an 
hedge, is fallen into a ditch hereby that lay open at 
the root of the shrubs, and verily I think he is in 



ipsius avum sibi saepicule clamitantis vivere ilium 
quidein sentiam, sed per corporis, ut videtis, mei 
defectam valitudinem opitulari nequeam. At vobis 
aetatis et roboris beneficio facile est suppetiari 
miserrimo seni puerumque ilium novissimum suc- 
cessionis meae atque unicam stirpem sospitem mihi 

21 Sic deprecantis suamque canitiem distrahentis 
totos quidein miseruit ; sed unus prae ceteris et animo 
fortior et aetate iuvenior et corpore validior, quique 
solus praeter alios incolumis proelium superius eva- 
serat, exsurgit alacer et percontatus quonam locipuer 
ille decidisset, monstrantem digito non longe frutices 
horridos senem ilium impigre comitatur. Ac dum 
pabulo nostro suaque cura refecti sarcinulis quisque 
sumptis suis viam capessunt, clamore primum nomi- 
natim cientes ilium iuvenem frequenter inclamant ; 
mox mora diutina commoti mittunt e suis arcessi- 
torem unum, qui requisitum comitem tempestivae 
viae commonefactum reduceret. At ille modicum 
commoratus refert sese buxanti pallore trepidus, 
miraque 1 super conserve suo renuntiat : conspica- 
tum se quippe supinato illi et iam ex maxima parte 
consumpto immanem draconem mandentem insistere 
nee ullum usquam miserrimum senem comparere 
ilium. Qua re cognita et cum pastoris sermone col- 
lata, qui saevum prorsus hunc ilium nee alium lo- 
corum inquilinum praeminabatur, pestilenti deserta 
regione velociori se fuga proripiunt nosque pellunt 

22 crebris tundentes fustibus. Celerrime denique longo 

i MSS mira. Some connecting particle is needed, and we 
must write either et mira or miraque. 



danger of death. As for me, though I know from 
his own voice, crying oft upon his grandsire, that he 
yet liveth, I am not able to help him by reason of 
my old age, but you, that are so valiant and lusty, 
may easily help me herein a miserable old man, 
and deliver me my boy, last of my heirs and single 
offspring of my race that is yet left alive." 

These words and his tearing of his white and aged 
hair made us all to pity him : and the youngest and 
stoutest of heart in our company, and strongest 
of body, who alone escaped unhurt from the late 
skirmish of dogs and stones, rose up quickly, de- 
manding in what ditch the boy was fallen. " Marry," 
said he, "Yonder," and pointing with his finger, 
brought him to a great thicket of bushes and thorn, 
where they both entered in. In the mean season, 
after that we had well refreshed ourselves with our 
grazing and they had cured their wounds, each took 
up his packs, purposing to depart away. And because 
we would not go away without the young man our 
fellow, the shepherds whistled and called for him by. 
his name ; but when he gave no answer they feared 
because of his long absence and sent one of their 
company to seek him out, and to tell him that it was 
now time to set forth on the journey with us. But he 
after a while returned again with an ashen-pale face, 
trembling, with strange and sorrowful news of his 
fellow, saying that he saw him lying upon his back and 
a terrible dragon eating and devouring him : and as for 
the miserable old man, he could see him in no pl.uv. 
When they heard this (remembering likewise the 
words of the first old man that had warned them of 
this and no other habitant of the place) they ran 
away, beating us before them, to fly from this desert 
and pestilent country. Then after we had very 



itinere confecto pagum quendam accedimus, ibique 
totam perquiescimus noctem ; ubi coeptum facinus 
oppido memorabile narrare cupio. 

Servus quidam, cui cunctam familiae tutelara domi- 
nus permiserat suus, quique possessionera maximam 
illam, in quam deverteramus, villicabat, habens ex 
eodem famulitio conservam coniugam, liberae cuius- 
dara extrariaeque mulieris flagrabat cupidine. Quo 
dolore paelicatus uxor eius instricta cunctas mariti 
rationes et quicquid horreo reconditura continebatur 
admoto combussit igne. Nee tali damno tori sui con- 
tumeliam vindicasse contenta, iam contra sua saeviens 
viscera laqueum sibi nectit infantulumque, quern de 
eodem marito iamdudum susceperat, eodem funiculo 
nectit seque per altissimum puteum, appendicem par- 
vulum trahens praecipitat. Quam mortem dominus 
eorum aegerrime sustinens arreptum servulum, qui 
causam tanti sceleris uxori suae praestiterat, nudum 
ac totum melle perlitum firmiter alligavit arbori ficul- 
neae, cuius in ipso carioso stipite inhabitant! urn formi- 
carum nidificia borribant et ultro citro commeabant 
multiiuga scaturigine. Quae simul dulcem ac mel- 
litum corporis nidorem persentiscunt, parvis quidem 
sed numerosis et continuis morsiunculis penitus in- 
haerentes, per longi temporis cruciatum ita, carnibus 
atque ipsis visceribus adesis, homine consumpto mem- 
bra nudarunt, ut ossa tantum viduata pulpis nitore 
nirnio candentia funestae cohaererent arbori. 
23 Hac quoque detestabili deserta mansione, paganos 


quickly passed a great part of our journey we came 
to a certain village, where we lay all ifight. But 
hearken, and I will tell you a great and notable 
mischief that happened there. 

You shall understand that there was a servant to 
whom his master had committed the whole govern- 
ment of his house, and he was bailiff of the great lodg- 
ing where we lay : this servant had married a maiden, 
a fellow-slave of the same house, howbeit he burned 
greatly for love of a free woman of another house. 
Therewith was his wife so highly displeased and be- 
came so jealous, that she gathered together all her hus- 
band's substance, with his tallies and books of accounts, 
and burned them with fire. She was not contented 
with this damage, nor thought that she had so avenged 
the wrong done to her bed, but she took a cord, and 
now raging against her own bowels, she bound her 
child which she had by her husband about her middle 
and cast herself headlong into a deep pit, carrying 
her babe with her. The master, taking in evil part 
the death of these twain, took his servant which had 
made for his wife the cause of this murder, and after 
that he had first put off all his apparel, he anointed 
his body with honey, and then bound him sure to a 
fig-tree, where in a rotten stock a great number of 
pismires or ants had built their nests, and ran always 
about in great multitudes like sprinkling water. The 
pismires, after they had felt the savour and sweetness 
of the honey, came upon his body, and by little and 
little but unfailing gnawing, in continuance of time 
with long torturing devoured all his flesh and his 
vitals, in such sort that there remained on the fatal 
tree nothing of his flesh but only his shining white 

This was declared unto us by the inhabitants of 



in summo luctu relinquentes, rursum pergimus dieque 
tola campestres emensi vias civitatem quandam popu- 
losam et nobilem iam fessi pervenimus. Inibi Larem 
sedesque perpetuas pastores illi statuere decernunt, 
quod et longe a quaesituris firmae latebrae viderentur 
et annonae copiosae beata celebritas invitabat. 
Triduo denique iumentorum refectis corporibus, quo 
vendibiliores videremur, ad mercatum producimur 
magnaque voce praeconis pretia singulis nuntiantis 
equi atque alii asini opulentis emptoribus praesti- 
nantur; at me relictum solum ac subsecivum cum 
fastidio plerique praeteribant. lamque taedio con- 
trectationis eorum, qui de dentibus meis aetatem 
computabantj manum cuiusdam faetore sordentenr, 
qui gingivas identidem meas putidis scalpebat digitis, 
mordicus arreptam plenissime conterui : quae res 
circumstantium ab emptione mea utpote ferocissimi 
deterruit animos. Tune praeco diruptis faucibus et 
rauca voce saucius in meas fortunas ridiculos con- 
struebat iocos: "Quern ad finem cantherium istum 
venui frustra subiciemus, et vetulum et extritis 
ungulis debilem et dolore deformem et in hebeti 
pigritia ferocem nee quicquam amplius quam rude- 
rarium cribrum ? Atque ideo vel donemus eura 



the village there, who greatly sorrowed for this 
servant : then we, avoiding likewise from this dread- 
ful lodging, incontinently departed away, and for a 
whole day travelled through the plain country, and 
then we came very tired to a fair city very populous, 
where our shepherds determined to make their home 
and continue, by reason that it seemed a place where 
they might live unknown, far from such as should 
pursue them, and because it was a country very 
plentiful of corn and other victuals. There when we 
had remained the space of three days, and that I, 
poor ass, and the other horses were fed and kept in 
the stable to the intent we might seem more saleable, 
we were brought out at length to the market, and 
by and by a crier sounded with his horn to notify 
that we were to be sold. All my companion horses 
and the other asses were bought up by gentlemen, 
but as for me I stood still forsaken, for that most 
men passed me by with despight. And when many 
buyers came by and handled me and looked at my 
teeth in my mouth to know my age, I was so weary 
with opening my jaws that at length (unable to 
endure any longer) when one came with a stinking 
pair of hands and grated my gums often with his 
filthy fingers, I seized them and well nigh bit them 
clean off, which thing caused the standers-by to for- 
sake buying me, as being a fierce and cruel beast. 
The crier when he had gotten a hoarse voice and 
was well nigh burst with crying, and saw that no 
man would buy me, began very scurrilously to mock 
my evil fortune, saying: "To what end stand we 
here to offer for sale this vile ass, this old feeble 
beast, this slow jade with worn hoofs, made hideous 
by his labours, idle save when he is vicious, and good 
for nothing but to make sieves of his skin ? Why do 



cuipiam, si qui tamen faenum suum perdere non 

24 Ad istum modum praeco ille cachinnos circum- 
stantibus commovebat. Sed ilia fortuna mea 
saevissima, quam per tot regiones iam fugiens 
eft'ugere vel praecedentibus mails placare non potui, 
rursum in me caecos detorsit oculos et emptorem 
aptissimum duris meis casibus mire repertum obiecit. 
Scitote qualem : cinaedum et senem cinaedum, 
calvum quidem sed cincinnis semicanis et pendulis 
capillatum, unum de triviali popularium faece, qui 
per plateas et oppida cymbalis et crotalis personantes 
deamque Syriam circumferentes mendicare com- 
pellunt. Is nimio praestinandi studio praeconem 
rogat cuiatis essem : at ille Cappadocum me et satis 
forticulum denuntiat. Rursum requirit annos aetatis 
meae : sed praeco lasciviens : " Mathematicus quidem 
qui stellas eius disposuit, quintum ei numeravit 
annum ; sed ipse scilicet melius istud de suis iiovit 
professionibus. Quanquam enim prudens crimen 
Corneliae legis incurram, si civem Romanum pro 
servo tibi vendidero, quin emis bonum et frugi 
mancipium, quod te et foris et domi poterit iuvare ? " 
Sed exinde odiosus emptor aliud de alio non desinit 
quaerere, denique de mansuetudine etiam mea 

25 percontatur anxie. At praeco "Vervecem/' inquit 
" Non asinum vides ad usus omnes quietum ; non 
mordacem, nee calcitronem quidem sed prorsus ut in 
asini corio modestum hominem inhabitare credas. 
Quae res cognitu non ardua : nam si faciem tuam 


we not give him to somebody, if there be any that it 
shall irk not to find him his hay ? " 

In this manner the crier made all the standers-by 
to laugh exceedingly; but my evil fortune, which 
was ever so cruel against me, whom I, by travel of 
so many countries, could in no wise escape nor 
appease the envy thereof by all the woes 1 had under- 
gone, did more and more cast its blind and evil eyes 
upon me, with invention of new means to afflict my 
poor body, in giving me another master very fit for 
my hard fate. Listen what man he was. There was 
an old naughty man, somewhat bald, with long and 
grey hair, one of the number of those of the lewdest 
dregs of the people which go from door to door 
throughout all the villages, bearing the image of 
the Syrian goddess, and playing with cymbals and 
bones, to get the alms of good and charitable folks. 
This old man came hastily towards the crier, and 
demanded where I was bred. ' Marry," quoth he, 
" In Cappadocia : and he is very strong." Then he 
enquired what age I was of, and the crier, jesting, 
answered: "A mathematician, which disposed to m< 
his planets, said that he was five years old; yet this doth 
he know best himself from his own register public. 
For I would not willingly incur the penalty of the 
jaw Cornelia in selling a free citizen for a servile 
slave, yet if you shall buy him you shall have a good 
and useful chattel both at home and about the 
country." But this cursed buyer did never stint to 
question of my qualities, and at length he demanded 
whether I were gentle or no : " Gentle ! " quoth the 
crier, " As gentle as a lamb, tractable to all use : he 
will never bite, he will never kick, but you would 
rather think that under the shape of the ass there 
were some well-advised man, which verily you may 
2 B 385 


mediis eius feminibus iinmiseris, facile periclitaberis 
quam grandem tibi demonstret patientiam." 

Sic praeco lurchonem tractabat dicacule ; sed ille 
cognito cavillatu, similis indignanti "Atte" inquit 
" Cadaver surdum et mutum delirumque praeconem, 
omnipotens et omniparens dea Syria et sanctus 
Sabadius et Bellona et Mater Idaea, et cum suo 
Adone Venus domina caecum reddant, qui scurrilibus 
iamdudum contra me velitaris iocis. An me putas, 
inepte, iumento fero posse deam committere, ut 
turbatum repente divinum deiciat sumulacrum, ego- 
que miser cogar crinibus solutis discurrere et deae 
meae humi iacenti aliquem medicum quaerere ? " 
Accepto tali sermone cogitabam subito velut lym- 
phaticus exsilire,utme ferocitate cernens exasperatum 
emptionem desineret. Sed praevenit cogitatum meum 
emptor anxius pretio depenso statim, quod quidem 
gaudens dominus scilicet taedio mei facile suscepit, 
septemdecim denarium, et illico me tumicla spartea 
deligatum tradidit Philebo : hoc enim nomine cense- 
26 batur iam meus dominus. At ille susceptum novicium 
famulum trahebat ad domum statimque illinc de 
primo limine proclamat : " Puellae, servum vobis pul- 
chellum en ecce mercata perduxi." Sed illae puellae 
chorus erat cinaedorum, quae statim exultantes in 
gaudium, fracta et rauca et effeminata voce clamores 



easily conject ; for if you would thrust your nose in 
his tail you shall perceive how patient he is." 

Thus the crier wittily mocked the old rascal ; but 
he, perceiving his taunts and jests, waxed very angry, 
saying : " Away, doting crier, thou deaf and dumb 
carrion, I pray the omnipotent and omniparent Syrian 
goddess, Saint Sabadius, Bellona with the Idaean 
mother, and Venus with her Adonis to strike out 
both thine eyes that with taunting mocks hast 
scoffed me in this sort. Dost thou think that I will 
put a goddess upon the back of any fierce beast, 
whereby her divine image should be thrown down 
on the ground, and so I, poor wretch, should be 
compelled (tearing my hair) to look for some physician 
to help her as she lies fallen ? " When I heard him 
speak this, I thought with myself suddenly to leap 
up like a mad ass, to the intent he should not buy 
me, thinking me very fierce ; but incontinently, like 
an eager buyer, he prevented my thought, and would 
lay down my price for me, even seventeen pence : 
then my master was glad, being weary of me, and 
receiving the money, delivered me by mine halter of 
straw to my new master, who was called Philebus. 
He carried his new servant home, and when he came 
to the door of the house, he culled out his troop, 
saying: "Behold, my daughter's, 1 what a gentle 
servant I have bought for you." Yet were these 
daughters a band of lewd and naughty fellows, and 
at first they were marvellous glad, prattling and 
shouting for joy with their broken and harsh voices, 
like a troop of women, in discordant sounds, and 

l The feminine is ironically used for the effeminate crew of 
priests. So in the Attis poem of Catullus (LXlii) the hero, 
after his emasculation, speaks of himself in the femimm- 


absonosintollunt,rati scilicet vere quempiam hominem 
servulum ministerio suo paratum. Sed postquam non 
oervam pro virgine sed asinum pro homine succi- 
daneum videre, nare detorta magistrum suum varie 
cavillantur : non enim servum sed maritum ilium 
scilicet sibi perduxisse : et " Heus " aiunt <e Cave 
ne solus exedas tarn bellum scilicet pullulum, sed 
nobis quoque tuis palumbulis nonnunquam im- 

Haec et huiusmodi mutuo blaterantes praesepio 
me proximum deligant. Erat quidam iuvenis satis 
corpulentus, choraula doctissimus, collaticia stipe de 
raensa paratus, qui foris quidem circumgestantibus 
deam cornu canens adambulabat, domi vero promiscui 
operis partiarius agebat concubinus. Hie me simul 
domi conspexit libenter, appositis largiter cibariis, 
gaudens alloquitur : "Venisti tandem miserrimi laboris 
vicarius : sed diu vivas et dominis placeas et meis 
defectis iam lateribus consulas." Haec audiens iam 
27 meas futuras novas cogitabam aerumnas. Die sequenti 
Variis coloribus indusiati et deformiter quisque for- 
raati, facie caenoso pigmento delita et oculis obunctis 
graphice prodeunt, mitellis et crocotis et carbasinis 
et bombycinis iniecti, quidam tunicas albas in modum 

thought verily that he had brought home a tit and 
convenient servant for their purpose. Hut when 
they perceived that it was not even an hind l instead 
of a maiden, but rather a makeshift ass for a man. 
they began to reprove him -with great scorn, saying 
that he had not brought a servant for them, but 
rather a stalling ass for himself. " Howbeit," quoth 
they, " Keep this pretty beast not wholly for your 
own delight, but let us, your darling doves, likewise 
have him at commandment." 

Therewithal babbling in this wise, they led me 
into the stable, and tied me to the manger; and 
there was a certain stout young man with a might v 
body, well skilled in playing on flutes, whom they 
had bought in a market with the money they had 
collected; and he walked before their procession, 
playing the horn when they carried round their 
goddess, and at home he shared in all their labours 
and they made great use of him. Now he, as soon as 
he espied me, entertained me very well, for he filled 
my rack and manger with meat, and spake merrily, 
saying : " O master ass, you are welcome ; now you 
shall take my office in hand : you are come to supply 
my room, and to ease me of my miserable labour : 1 
pray Godthou mayest long live and please my master 
well, to the end thou mayest continually deliver my 
weary sides from so great pain and labour." N\ lien 
I heard his words, I did prognosticate my new mi-cry 
to come. The day following I saw them apparelled 
in divers colours, and hideously tricked out, havmi;- 
their faces ruddled with paint, and their eyes tricked 
out with grease, mitres on their heads, ve-,tmenl- 
coloured like saffron, surplices of silk and linen : and 
some ware white tunics printed with purple stripe- 
l The usual reference to the story of Iphigenia. 



lanciolarum quoquoversum fluente purpura depletes 
cingulo subligati, pedesluteisinduti calceis ; deamque 
serico contectam amiculo mihi gerendam imponunt 
brachiisque suis humero tenus renudatis, attollentes 
immanes gladios ac secures, evantes exsiliunt incitante 
tibiae cantu lymphaticum tripudium. Nee paucis 
pererratis casulis ad quandam villam possessoris beati 
perveniunt et ab ingressu primo statim absonis 
ululatibus constrepentes fanatice pervolant, diuque 
capite demisso cervices lubricis intorquentes motibus 
crinesque pendulos in circulum rotantes, et nonnun- 
quam morsibus suos incursantes musculos, ad postre- 
mum ancipiti ferro quod gerebant sua quisque 
brachia dissicant. Inter haec unus ex illis 
bacchatur effusius ac de imis praecordiis an- 
helitus crebros referens, velut numinis divino spiritu 
repletus, simulabat sauciarn vecordiam, prorsus quasi 
deum praesentia soleant homines non sui fieri me- 
28 liores sed debiles effici vel aegroti. Specta denique 
quale caelesti providentia meritum reportaverit. 
Infit vaticinatione clamosa conficto mendacio semet 
ipsum incessere atque criminari, quasi contra fas 
sanctae religionis dissignasset aliquid et insuper 
iustas poenas noxi facinoris ipse de se suis manibus 
exposcere. Arrepto denique flagro, quod semiviris 
illis proprium gestamen est, contortis taeniis lanosi 
velleris prolixe fiinbriatum et multiiugis talis 
ovium tesseratuni, indidem sese multinodis commulcat 


that pointed every way like spears, girt with belts, 
and on their feet were yellow shoes ; and they attired 
the goddess in silken robe, and put her upon my 
back. Then they went forth with their arms nakrd 
to their shoulders, bearing with them great swords and 
mighty axes, shouting and dancing like mad persons 
to the sound of the pipe. After that we had passed 
many small villages, we fortuned to come to a certain 
rich man's house, where at our first entry they began 
to howl all out of tune and hurl themselves hither 
and thither, as though they were mad. They made 
a thousand gests with their feet and their heads ; 
they would bend down their necks and spin round so 
that their hair Hew out in a circle ; they would bite 
their own flesh ; finally, every one took his twy- 
edged weapon and wounded his arms in divers places. 
Meanwhile there was one more mad than the rest, 
that fetched many deep sighs from the bottom of his 
heart, as though he had been ravished in spirit, or 
replenished with divine power, and he feigned a 
swoon and frenzy, as if (forsooth) the presence of the 
gods were not wont to make men better than before, 
but weak and sickly. Mark then how by divine 
providence he found a just and worthy recompense 
after that he had somewhat returned to himself, he 
invented and forged a great lie, noisily prophesying 
and accusing and charging himself, saying that he 
had displeased the divine majesty of the goddess by 
doing of something which was not convcn .-il)U: to the 
order of their holy religion, wherefore he prayr.i 
that vengeance might be done of himself. And 
therewithal he took a whip, such as is naturally 
borne by these womanish men, with many twisted 
knots and tassels of wool, and strung with sheep's 
knuckle-bones, and with the knotted thongs scourged 



ictibus, mire contra plagarum dolores praesumptione 
munitus. Cerneres prosectu gladiorum ictuque fla- 
grorum solumspurcitia sanguinis effeminati madescere. 
Quae res incutiebat mihi non parvam sollicitudinem 
videnti tot vulneribus largiter profusum cruorem, ne 
quo casu deae peregrinae stomachus, ut quorundam 
hominum lactem, sic ilia sanguinem concupisceret 
asiniiiuin. Sed ubi tandem fatigati, vel certe suo 
laniatu satiati, pausam carnificinae dedere, stipes 
aereas, immo vero et argenteas multis certatini 
ofFerentibus, sinu recepere patulo neciion et vini 
cadum et lactem et caseos et farris et siliginis aliquid, 
et nonnullis hordeum deae gerulo donantibus. Avidis 
mimis corradentes omniaet in sacculoshuic quaestui 
de industria praeparatos farcientes dorso meo con- 
gerunt, ut duplici scilicet sarcinae pondere gravatus, 
et horreum simul et templum incederem. 
29 Ad istum modum palantes omnern illam depraeda- 
bantur regionem. Sed in quodam castello copia 
laetati largioris quaesticuli gaudiales instruunt dapes : 
a quodam colono fictae vaticinationis mendacio 
pinguissimum deposcunt arietem, qui deam Syriam 
esurientem suo satiaret sacrificio, probeque disposita 
cenula balneas obeunt ac dehinc lauti quendam fortis- 
simum rusticanum, industria laterum atque imis 
ventris bene praeparatum, comitem cenae secum 
adducunt paucisque admodum praegustatis olusculis, 
ante ipsam mensam spurcissima ilia propudia ad 
illicitae libidinis extrema flagitia infandis uriginibus 
efferantur, passimque circumfusi nudatum supinatum- 
que iuvenem execraudis oribus flagitabant. Nee diu 


his own body very strong to bear the pain of the 
blows, so that you might see the ground to be wet 
and defiled with the womanish blood that issued out 
abundantly with the cutting of the swords and the 
blows of the scourge : which thing caused me greatly 
to fear to see such wounds and effusion of blood, lest 
the same foreign goddess should likewise desire the 
blood of an ass for her stomach, as some men long for 
ass's milk After they at last were weary, or at 
least satisfied with rending themselves, they ceased 
from this bloody business : and, behold, they received 
from the inhabitants, who offered eagerly, into their 
open bosoms copper coins, nay silver too, vessels of 
wine, milk, cheese, flour and wheat ; and amongst 
them there were some that brought barley to the ass 
that carried the goddess : but the greedy whoresons 
thrust all into their sacks which they brought for the 
purpose, and put them upon my back, to the end I 
might serve for two purposes, that is to say : for the 
barn by reason of my corn, and for the temple by 
reason of the goddess that I bare. 

In this sort they went from place to place robbing 
all the country over ; at length they came to a certain 
town, purposing to make good cheer there, being 
glad at a great gain they had gotten, where, under 
colour of divination, they brought to pass that they 
obtained a fat ram of a poor husbandman for the 
goddess' supper, and to make sacrifice withal. After 
that the banquet was richly prepared, they washed 
their bodies, and brought in a lusty young man of 
the village to sup with them ; and when he had 
scarce tasted a few herbs before the supper they 
began to discover their beastly customs and inordi- 
nate desires. For they compassed him round about 
as he sat, to abuse him, but when" mine eyes would 



tale facinus meis oculis tolerantibus " Porro Quirites " 
proclamare gestivi, sed viduatum ceteris syllabis ac 
litteris processit" O" tantum, sane clarum ac validum 
et asino proprium sed inopportune plane tempore : 
namque de pago proxumo complures iuvenes abactum 
sibi noctu perquirentes asellum, nimioque studio 
cuncta devorsoria scrutantes, intus aedium audito 
ruditu meo, praedam absconditam latibulis aedium 
ratij coram rem invasuri suam improvisi conferto 
gradu se penetrant, palamque illos execrandas 
foeditates obeuntes deprehendunt : iam iamque 
vicinos undique percientes turpissirnam scaenam 
patefaciunt, insuper ridicule sacerdotum purissimam 
laudantes castimoniam. 

30 Hac infamia consternati, quae per ora populi facile 
dilapsa merito invisos ac detestabiles eos cunctis 
effecerat, noctem ferme circa mediam collectis omni- 
bus furtim castello facessunt, bonaque itineris parte 
ante iubaris exortum transacta, iam die claro solitu- 
dines avias nacti, multa secum prius collocuti accin- 
gunt se meo funeri ; deaque vehiculo meo sublata et 
humi reposita cunctis stramentis me renudatum ac de 
quadam quercu destinatum flagro illo pecuinis ossibus 
catenate verberantes paene ad extremam confecerant 
mortem. Fuit unus qui poplites meos enervare secure 
sua comminaretur, quod de pudore illo candido scili- 
cet suo tarn deformiter triumphassem : sed ceteri non 
meae salutis sed simulacri iacentis contemplatione in 
vita me retinendum censuere. Rursum itaque me 


not long bear to behold this horrible fact, I could not 
but attempt to utter myinind and say, "O masters," 
but I could pronounce no more but the first letter "O," 
which I roared out very clearly and valiantly and like 
an ass; but at a time inopportune, for some youin: 
men of the town, seeking for a stray ass that thev 
had lost the same night, and searching diligently all 
the inns, heard my voice within the house ; whereby 
they judged that I had been theirs, but concealed in 
a hidden place, and resolving to manage their own 
business, they entered altogether unawares, and found 
these persons committing their vile abomination. 
This when they saw they called all the neighbour- 
ing inhabitants and declared to them their unnatural 
villainy, mocking and laughing at this the pure and 
clean chastity of these priests. " Then they, ashamed 
at the report which was dispersed throughout all the 
/egion there of their beastly wickedness, so that they 
were justly hated and despised of all, about midnight 
brought together all their trumpery and departed 
away from the town. When we had passed a good 
part of our journey before the rising of the sun, and 
were now come into a wide desert in the broad day, 
they conspired much together to slay me. For after 
they had taken the goddess from my back and set 
her gingerly upon the ground, they likewise took off 
all my harness and bound me surely to an oak, and 
then beat me with that whip which was knotted with 
sheep's bones, in such sort that they had well nigh 
killed me. Amongst them there was one that 
threatened to cut my hamstrings with his hatchet, 
because by my noise I had so famously hurt his pure 
chastity ; but the others, regarding more the image 
that lay upon the ground than my sat. ty, thought 
best to spare my life; and so they laded me again, 



refertum sarcinis planis gladiis minantes perveniunt 
ad quandam nobilem civitatem. Inibi vir principalis 
et alias religiosus et eximie deam reverens, tinnitu 
cjmbalorum et sonu tympanorum cantusque Phrygii 
mulcentibus modulis excitus, procurrit obviam, deam- 
que votivo suscipiens hospitio nos omnes intra con- 
saeptum domus amplissimae constituit, numenque 
summa veneratione atque hostiis opimis placare con- 

31 Hie ego me potissimum capitis periclitatum rne- 
mini. Nam quidam colonus pattern venationis, im- 
manis cervi pinguissimum femus, domino illi suo 
muneri misei'at, quod incuriose pone culinae fores 
non altiuscule suspensum canis adaeque venaticus 
latenter invaserat, laetusque praeda propere custo- 
dientes oculos evaserat. Quo damno cognito suaque 
reprehensa neglegentia cocus diu lamentatus lacrimis 
inefficacibus, iam iamque domino cenam flagitante 
maerens et utcunque metuens altius, filio suo par- 
vulo consalutato arreptoque funiculo, mortem sibi 
nexu laquei comparabat. Nee tamen latuit fidam 
uxorem eius casus extremus mariti, sed funestum no- 
dum violenter invadens manibus ambabus " Adeone " 
inquit " Praesenti malo perterritus mente excidisti 
tua, nee fortuitum istud remedium, quod deum pro- 
videntia subministrat, intueris? Nam si quid in 
ultimo fortunae turbine resipiscis, expergite mi aus- 
culta et advenam istum asinum remote quodam loco 
deductum iugula, femusque eius ad similitudinem 

driving me before them with their naked swords 
they came to a noble city. There the principal 
patron, who was in every way a man very religious 
and especially bearing high reverence unto the' 
goddess, came in great devotion to meet us when 
he heard our tinkling cymbals and tapping drums 
and the soft strain of the Phrygian music, and re- 
ceived her and all our company as a pious host into 
his great house, and he hastened with much sacrifice 
and veneration to appease her godhead. 

But there, I remember, I thought myself in most 
danger of all my life ; for there was one that brought 
venison to the master of the house, a side of a fat 
buck, for a present ; which being hanged carelessly 
behind the kitchen door, not far from the ground, 
was clean eaten up by a hunting greyhound that 
came in, who, joyful to have gotten his prey, escaped 
the eyes of them that watched. The cook, when he 
saw the venison devoured, reproving his own negli- 
gence, lamented and wept to no purpose, and because 
supper-time approached nigh, when his master should 
now call for the meat, he sorrowed and feared greatly ; 
and bidding farewell to his little child, he took a 
halter to hang himself; but his good wife, perceiving 
whereabout he went, ran incontinently to him, and 
taking the deadly halter in both her hands stopped 
him of his purpose, saying : " O husband, are you 
out of your wits with this present trouble ? What 
intend you to do ? See you not a chance remedy 
before your eyes ministered unto you by divine 
providence ? I pray you, husband, if you have any 
sense left in this storm of fortune, listen attentively 
to my counsel : carry this strange ass out into some 
secret place and kill him ; which done, cut off one of 
his sides, and sauce it well like the side of the buck, 



perditi detraction et accuratius in protrimentis sapi- 
dissime percoctum appone domino cervini vicem." 
Nequissimo verberoni sua placuit salus de mea morte, 
et multum conservae laudata sagacitate destinatae 
iara lanienae cultros acuebat. 


and set it before your master in place thereof." Then 
the naughty rascal, the cook, was well pleased to slay 
me, to save himself, and praised greatly the shrewd 
counsel of his wife ; and to bring his purpose to pass, 
he went to the whetstone to sharp his tools accord- 
ingly for the butchery he had promised. 



1 Sic ille nequissimus carnifex contra me mantis Smpias 
obarmabat, at ego, praecipitante consilium periculi 
tanti praesentia nee expectata diutina cogitatione, 
lanienam immiiientem fuga vitare statui ; protinus- 
que vinculo, quo fueram deligatus, abrupto, cursu 
me proripio totis pedibus, ad tutelam salutis crebris 
calcibus velitatus ; illicoque me, raptim transcursa 
proxima porticu, triclinio, in quo dominus aedium 
sacrificales epulas cum sacerdotibus deae cenitabat, 
incunctanter immitto nee pauca rerum apparatus 
cibarii, mensas etiam x impetu meo collido atque 
disturbo. Qua rerum deformi strage paterfamilias 
commotus, ut importunum atque lascivum me cui- 
dam famulo curiose traditum certo aliquo loco clau- 
sum iubet cohiberi, ne rursum convivium placidum 
simili petulantia dissiparem. Hoc astutulo commento 
scitule munitus et mediis lanii manibus ereptus cus- 
todela salutaris mihi gaudebam carcerisr 

Sed nimirum nihil Fortuna renuente licet homini 
nato dexterum pro venire, nee consilio prudent! vel 
remedio sagaci divinae providentiae fatalis dispositio 
subvert! vel reformari potest. Mihi denique id ip- 
sum commentum, quod momentariam salutem rep- 
perisse videbatur, periculum grande, immo praesens 

l In the best MSS after the word etiam a word which looks 
like gen has been erased. It has been suggested by Helm 
that geniales, "cheerful," should be supplied. 



IN this manner the traitorous cook prepared himself 
to slay me : and when he was ready with his knives 
to do his feat, I devised with myself how I might 
escape the present peril, and I did not long delay, 
for incontinently I brake the halter wherewith 1 was 
tied, I dashed forth at full speed, and flinging my 
heels hither and thither, at length to save myself 1 
ran hastily through a passage that was near, burst 
into a parlour where the master of the house was 
feasting after the sacrifice with the priests, and 
disquieted all the company, throwing down their 
meats and drinks and even the table itself. The 
master of the house, dismayed at my great disorder, 
strictly commanded one of his servants to take me 
up as a savage and wanton ass, and lock me in some 
strong place to the end I might disturb them no 
more ; but I regarded my imprisonment as my 
safety, considering that by my clever colouring and 
deceit I was happily delivered from the hands of 
the traitorous cook. 

Howbeit, if fortune be opposite, nothing may 
prosper a man, nor may the fatal disposition of the 
divine providence be avoided or changed by wise 
counsel, nor by any wholesome remedy: for that very 
deceit, whidh seemed to have found for me safety 
for the moment, brought upon me a grievous danger, 
nay well nigh utter destruction : for by and by, as 
2c 401 


exitium conflavit aliud. Nam quidam subito puer 
mobili ac trepida facie percitus, ut familiares inter 
se susurrabant, irrumpit triclinium suoque annuntiat 
domino de proxumo angiportu canemrabidam paulo 
ante per posticam impetu miro sese direxisse ardenti- 
que prorsus furore venaticos canes invasisse, ac 
dehinc proxumum petisse stabulum atque ibi plera- 
que iumenta incurrisse pari saevitia, jnec postremum 
saltern ipsis homimbus pepercisse : nam Myrtilum 
mulioneui et Hephaestionem cocum et Hypatarium 
cubicularium et Apollonium medicum, immo vero 
et plures alios ex familia abigere temptantes variis 
niorsibus quemque lacerasse, certe venenatis mor- 
sibus contacta nomiulla iumeuta efi'erari simili rabie. 
Quae res omnium statini percussit animos, ratique me 
etiam eadem peste infectum ferocire, arreptis cuiusce- 
modi telis mutuoque ut exitium commune protelarent 
cohortati, ipsi potius eodem vesaniae morbo labor- 
antes persequuntur. Nee dubio me lanceis illis vel 
venabulis, immo vero et bipennibus, quae facile 
famuli subministraverant, membratim compilassent, 
ni respecto subiti periculi turbine cubiculum, in quo 
mei domini devertebant, protinus irrupissem. Tune 
clausis obseratisque super me foribus obsidebant 
locum, quoad sine ullo congressionis suae periculo 
pestilentiae letalis pervicaci rabie possessus ac pere- 
sus absumerer : quo facto tandem libertatem nanctus, 
solitariae fortunae munusamplexus, super constratuui 


3 t 


they were familiarly whispering together, a lad came 
running into the parlour, all trembling and fearful in 
his countenance, and declared to the master of the 
house that a mad dog had run in from the next lane 
and had rushed furiously into the back gate ; which 
had done much harm, for he had bitten many grey- 
hounds and thence had entered the stable and had 
with like savagery attacked most of the beasts ; nor 
finally had he spared men, for there was one Myrtilus 
a muleteer, Hephaestion a cook, Hypatarius a cham- 
berlain, and Apollonius a physician, nay many more, 
who (thinking to chase away the mad dog) were 
cruelly bitten by him ; and, indeed, many horses and 
other beasts had been infected with the venom of 
his poisonous teeth and become mad likewise. This 
thing caused them all at the table greatly to fear, 
and thinking that I had been made mad by being 
bitten and was mad in like sort, they snatched up all 
manner of weapons and came out exhorting one 
another so to keep off the common destruction of 
all, themselves rather a prey to the same disease of 
madness. Verily, with their spears, clubs, and pitch- 
forks, which their servants easily found for them, 
they had torn me limb from limb, had I not by and 
by observed the storm of sudden danger and crept 
into a chamber, where my masters intended to lodge 
that night. Then they closed and locked fast the 
doors about me, and kept the chamber round, till 
such time as they thought that they would not 
have to meet me in battle and the pestilent 
rage of madness should have killed me. Now 
when I was thus shut in the chamber, I had at 
last gained my liberty, and taking the gift that 
fortune had sent me, to be alone, I laid me 
down upon the bed to sleep, considering it was 



lectum abiectus post multum equidem temporis som- 
num humanum quievi. 

3 lamque clara die, mollitie cubiculi refota lassi- 
tudine, vegetus exsurgo atque illos, qui meae tutelae 
pervigiles excubias agitaverant, ausculto de meis sic 
altercare fortunis : " Adhuccine miserum istum asi- 
num iugi furore iactari credimus ? Immo vero iam 
virus increscente saevitia prorsus extinctum." Sic 
opinionis variae terminum ad explorationem con- 
ferunt ac de rima quadam prospiciunt sanum me 
atque sobrium otiose consistere : iamque ultro fori- 
bus patefactis plenius an iam sim mansuefactus peri- 
clitantur. Sed unus ex his, de caelo scilicet missus 
mihi sospitator, argumentum explorandae sani- 
tatis meae tale commonstrat ceteris, ut aquae re- 
centis completam pelvem offerrent potui meo, ac 
si intrepidus et more solito sumens aquis allibe- 
scerem, sanum me atque omni morbo scirent expedi- 
tum : contra vero si visum contactumque laticis vita- 
rem ac perh orrescerem, pro comperto noxiam rabiem 
4 pertinaciter durare : hoc enim libris etiam pristinis 
proditum observari solere. Isto placito vas immane 
confestim aquae pellucidae de proxumo petitae fonte 
cunctantes adhuc offerunt mihi : at ego sine ulla 
mora progressus etiam obvio gradu satis sitienter pro- totum caput inferens salutares vere equidem 
illas aquas hauriebam. lamque et plausus manuum et 
aurium flexus et ductum capistri et quidvis aliud peri- 


long time past since 1 lay and took my rest as a 
man doth. 

When morning was come, and that I was well 
reposed by the softness of the bed, I rose up lustily. 
In the mean season I heard them which watched 
about the chamber all night reason with themselves 
in this sort : " Verily," quoth one, " I think the ass 
be still raving." "So think not," quoth another, 
" For the outrageous poison of madness hath killed 
him." But being thus in divers opinions, they 
determined to put them to the test and looked 
through a crevice, and espied me standing still, sober 
and quiet, in the middle of the chamber ; and then 
they opened the doors and came towards me to prove 
whether I were gentle or no. Amongst whom there 
was one, which in my opinion was sent from heaven 
to save my life, that put forward a proof to see 
whether I were sane : and he willed the others to 
set a basin of fair water before me, and thereby they 
should know whether I were mad or no, for if I did 
drink without fear, as I accustomed to do, it was a 
sign that I was whole and free of all disease, where 
contrary if 1 did fly and abhor the sight and taste of 
the water, it was an evident proof of my continued 
madness ; which thing he said that he had read in 
ancient and credible books. Whereupon they agreed 
thereto and took a basin of clear water from a spring- 
hard by and presented it before me, hesitating and 
delaying still; but I, as soon as I perceived the 
wholesome water of my salvation, ran incontinently 
and, thrusting my head into the basin, drank all th;it 
water, that was truly water of salvation to me, as 
though I had been greatly athirst. Then did 
suffer them to stroke me with their hands, and to 
bow my ears, and to take me by the halter and aught 



clitantium placide patiebar, quoad contra vesanam 
eorum praesumptionem modestiam meam liquido 
cunctis approbarem. Ad istum modum vitato duplici 
periculo, die sequenti rursum divinis exuviis onustus 
cum crotalis et cymbalis circumforaneum mendica- 
bulum producor ad viam. Nee paucis casulis atque 
castellis oberratis devertimus ad quempiam pagum 
urbis opulentae quondam, ut memorabant incolae, 
inter semiruta vestigia conditum, et hospitio proxumi 
stabuli recepti cognoscimus lepidam de adulterio 
cuiusdam pauperis fabulam, quam vos etiam cogno- 
scatis volo. 

5 Is gracili pauperie laborans fabriles operas prae- 
bendo par vis illis mercedibus vitam tenebat. Erat ei 
tamen uxorcula etiam, satis quidem tenuis et ipsa, 
verum tamen postrema lascivia famigerabilis. Sed 
die quadam dum matutino ille ad opus susceptum 
proficiscitur, statim latenter irrepit eius hospitium 
temerarius adulter : ac dum Veneris colluctationibus 
securius operantur, maritus ignarus rerum ac nihil 
etiam turn tale suspicans improvisus hospitium repetit. 
lamque clausis et obseratis foribus uxoris laudata 
continentia ianuam pulsat, sibilo etiam praesentiam 
suam denuntiante : tune mulier callida et ad huius- 

l Vesana praesumptio has a double meaning which it is 
not easy to render into English. Lucius had stated above 



else that they dared, so that I might, by taking each 
thing in good part, disprove their mad presumption l 
by my meekness and gentle behaviour. When I was 
thus delivered from this double danger, the next day 
I was laded again with the trappings of the goddess 
and other trumpery, and was brought out into the 
way with rattles and cymbals, to beg in the villages 
which we passed by according to our custom. And 
after that we had gone through a few hamlets and 
castles, we fortuned to come to a certain village, 
which was builded (as the inhabitants there affirmed) 
among the ruined foundations of a famous and 
ancient city. And after that we had turned into the 
next inn, we heard of a pretty jest committed in the 
town there, in the matter of the cuckoldry of a 
certain poor man, which I would that you should 
know likewise. 

There was a man dwelling in the town, very poor, 
that had naught to live upon but that which he got 
by his labour as a smith and the travail of his hands : 
his wife too was very poor, but known to be lascivious 
and exceeding given to the desire of the flesh. Now 
it fortuned on a day that while this man was gone 
betimes in the morning about his business, according 
as he accustomed to do, his wife's lover secretly came 
into his house to have his pleasure with her. And 
so it chanced that during the time that he and she 
were busking together, her husband, suspecting no 
such matter, returned suddenly home praising the 
chaste continency of his wife,in that he found hisdoors 
fast locked and closed ; wherefore, as his custom was, 
he whistled to declare his coming home. Thru his 

(ch. 2) that his pursuers were so much excited that they 
seemed mad themselves, but it also has the idea of ' their 
presumption of my madness." 



modi flagitia perastutula tenacissimis amplexibus 
expeditum hominem dolio, quod erat in angulo 
sevniobrutum sed alias vacuum, dissimulanter abscon- 
dit, et patefactis aedibus adhuc introeuntem maritum 
aspero sermone accipit : " Siccine vacuus et otiosus 
iusinuatis manibusambulabis mihi nee obito consueto 
labore vitae iiostrae prospicies et aliquid cibatui 
parabis ? At ego misera pernox et per diem lanificio 
nervos meos contorqueo, ut intra cellulam nostram 
saltern lucernu luceat. Quanto me felicior Daphne 
yicina, quae mero et prandio matutino saucia cum 
6 suis adulteris volutatur ! " Sic confutatus maritus 
" Et quid istic est ? " ait " Nam licet forensi negotio 
officinator noster attentus ferias nobis fecerit, tamen 
hodiernae cenulae nostrae prospexi. Vides istud 
dolium, quod semper vacuum frustra locum detinet 
tantum et revera praeter impedimentum conversa- 
tionis nostrae nihil praestat amplius ? Istud ego 
quinque denariis cuidam venditavi ; et adest, ut dato 
pretio secum rem suam ferat. Quin itaque prae- 
cingeris mihique manum tantisper accommodas, ut 
exobrutum protinus tradatur emptori." E re nata 
fallacia, mulier temerarium tollens cachinnum 
"Magnum" inquit " Istum virum ac strenuum 
negotiatorem nacta sum, qui rem, quam ego mulier 
et intra hospitium contenta iamdudum septem 
denariis vendidi, minoris distraxit." Additamentb 
pretii laetus maritus " Et quis est ille," ait " Qui 
tanto praestinavit ? " At ilia " Olim, inepte," inquit 



crafty wife, ready with present shifts, loosed her lover 
from her embrace and hid him in a great tub standing 
in a corner, and it was very ruinous and dirty, but 
empty withal ; and then she opened the door, blaming 
her husband in this sort : " Comest thou home so every 
day empty with thy hands wrapt in thy cloke ? 
And bringest nothing by thy accustomed labour to 
maintain our house ? Thou hast no regard for our 
profit, neither providest for any meat or drink, 
whereas I, poor wretch, do nothing day and night but 
wear my sinews with spinning, and yet my travail 
will scarce find the candles to lighten our hut. O 
how much more happy is my neighbour Daphne, that 
eateth and drinketh at her pleasure, and well foxed 
passeth the time with her amorous lovers according 
to her desire." "What is the matter?" quoth her 
husband, much grieved at that she said, " Though our 
master hath business in the market and hath made 
holiday for us, yet think not but that I have made 
provision for our supper this day ; dost thou not see 
this tub that keepeth a place here in our house in 
vain, and doth us no service save to hinder us in our 
coming and going ? Behold I have sold it to a good 
fellow (that now cometh) for five pence, and he will 
pay the money and carry it away. Wherefore I 
pray thee lend me thy hand that I may mend it 
and take it up and deliver him the tub." His wife 
(having invented a present shift) laughed boldly on 
her husband, saying : " What a notable and goodly 
merchant have I gotten in you, to fetch away my 
tub for so little for which I, poor woman that 
sit all day alone in my house, have been proffered 
long ago seven pence ! " Her husband, being well 
pleased at the greater price, demanded what he was 
that would give so much. "Look, fool," quoth 



" Descendit in dolium sedulo soliditatem eius pro- 

7 Nee ille sermoni mulieris defuit sed exsurgens ala- 
criter "Vis" inquit " Verum scire, materfamilias ? 
Hoc tibi dolium nimis vetustum est et multifariam 
rimis hiantibus quassum " ; ad maritumque eius dis- 
simulaiiter conversus " Quin tu, quicunque es 
homuncio, lucernam" ait " Actutum mihi expedis, 
ut erasis intrinsecus sordibus diligenter an aptum 
usui possim dinoscere, nisi nos putas aes de malo 
habere ? " Xec quicquam moratus ac suspicatus 
acer et egregius ille maritus, accensa lucerna, " Dis- 
cede," inquit " Frater, et otiosus assiste, donee probe 
procuratum istud tibi repraesentem/' et cum dicto 
nudatus ipse, delate lumine, scabiem vetustam 
cariosae testae occipit exculpere. At vero adultetj 
bellissimus ille pusio, inclinatam dolio pronam uxorem 
fabri superincurvatus secure dedolabat. Ast ilia 
capite in dolium demisso maritum suum astu 
meretricio tractabat ludicre : hoc et illud et aliud et 
rursus aliud purgandum demonstrat digito suo, donee 
utroque opere perfecto, acceptis septem denariis, 
calaniitosus faber collo suo gerens dolium coactus est 
ad hospitium adulteri perferre. 

8 Pauculis ibi diebus commorati et munificentia 
publica saginati vaticinationisque crebris mercedibus 
suffareinati purissimi illi sacerdotes novum quaestus 
genus sibi comminiscuntur. Sorte unica pro casibus l 

i Casibus is the emendation of the Dutch editors Oolvius 
and Oudendorp for the MSS' meaningless casulis. 



she, f < He is gone under to see where it be sound 
or no." 

Then her lover, which was under the tub, began to 
stir that his words might agree to the words of the 
woman, and said : " Dame, will you have me tell the 
truth ? This tub is old and rotten and cracked as 
meseemeth on every side." And then he turned 
himself to her husband, colouring the matter and 
saying : " I pray, honest man, whoever you be, light 
a candle that I may make the tub clean within, to 
see if it be for my purpose or no, for I do not mind 
to cast away my money wilfully." This clever 
husband by and by, suspecting nothing, delayed not 
to light a candle, saying : " I pray you, good brother, 
put not yourself to so much pain, but stand by and 
let me make the tub clean and ready for you " ; 
whereupon he put off his coat and took the light and 
crept under the tub to rub away the old filth from 
the sides. In the mean season the minion lover cast 
his wife on the bottom of the tub, and had his 
pleasure with her over his head, and she, like the 
very harlot that she was, played a merry prank upon 
her husband ; for as she was in the midst of her 
pastime, she turned her head on this side and that 
side, shewing now this and now that to be cleansed, 
till as they had both ended their business, and then 
he delivered seven pence for the tub : and then the 
poor smith must himself carry it on his back to the 
lover's lodging. 

After that we had tarried there a few days at the 
cost and charges of the whole village, and had gotten 
much money by our divination and prognostication 
of things to come, those good priests invented a new 
mean to pick men's purses ; for they had one lot 
whereon was written this cheating answer, which 



pluribus enotata consulentes de rebus variis plurimos 
ad hunc modum cavillantur. Sors haec erat : 

Ideo coniuncti terram prescind unt boves, 
ut in futurum laeta germinent sata. 

Turn si qui matrimonium forte coaptantes inter- 
rogarent, rem ipsam responderi aiebant, iungendos 
connubio et satis liberum procreandis. Si possessiones 
praestinaturus quaereret, merito boves ut et iugum 
et arva sementis florentia pronuntiari. Si qui de 
profectione sollicitus divinum caperet auspicium, 
iunctos iani paratosque quadripedum cunctorum 
mansuetissimos etlucrum promitti de glebae germine. 
Si proelium capessiturus vel latronum factionem 
persecuturus utiles necne process us sciscitaretur, 
addictam victoriam forti praesagio contendebant, 
quippe cervices hostium iugo subactum iri et 
praedam de rapinis uberrimam fructuosamque captum 

Ad istum modum divinationis astu captioso cor- 

9 raserant non parvas pecunias, sed assiduis interroga- 

tionibus argumenti satietate iam defecti, rursum ad 

viam prodeunt, via tota quam nocte confeceramus 

longe peiorem. Quidni ? Lacunosis incilibus voragi- 

1 Adlington has here a marginal note, " So used feigned 
Egyptians of late years in England," and the practice of the 
trade has not varied since his time. Adlingtoij did not 


they gave for every enquiry ; and it was : The oxen 
tied and yoked together : do plough the ground to the 
intent it may bring forth her increase." 1 And by these 
kind of lots they deceived many of the simple sort : 
for if one had demanded whether he should have a 
good wife or no, they would say that his lot did 
testify the same, that he should be tied and yoked 
to a good woman and have increase of children : if 
one demanded whether he should buy lands and 
possessions, they said that there was much reason 
in the mentioning of the oxen and the yoke, which 
foretold that he should have much ground that 
should yield his increase : if one demanded the 
advice of heaven whether he should have a good and 
prosperous voyage, they said he should have good 
success because that now these gentlest of beasts 
were joined together and ready to go, and that of 
the increase of the soil should be his profit : if one 
demanded whether he should vanquish his enemies, 
or prevail in pursuit of thieves, they said that the 
oracle foretold victory, for that his enemies' necks 
should be brought under the yoke, and that a rich 
and fertile gain should be gotten from the thieves' 

Thus by the telling of fortunes so cleverly and 
cunningly they gathered a great quantity of money ; 
but when they were weary with giving of answers, 
they drove me away before them the next night, 
through a lane which was more dangerous and stony 
than the way which we had gone before ; for it was 
full of deep and gaping holes, sometimes wet with 

attempt a poetical version of the lines. I may perhaps quote 
that of the late Dean Farrar : 

"The patient oxen plough the soil. 
And harvests rich repay their toil." 



nosam, partim stagnant! palude fluidam et alibi sub- 
luvie caenosa lubricam. Crebris denique offensaculis 
et assiduis lapsibus iam contusis cruribus meis vix tan- 
dem ad campestres semitas fessus evadere potui. Et 
ecce nobis repente de tergo manipulus armati super- 
currunt equites, aegreque cohibita equorum curriculi 
rabiej Philebum ceterosque comites eius involant 
avidi colloque constricto et sacrileges impurosque 
compellantes interdum pugnis obverberant, necnoii 
manicis etiam cunctos coartaiit et identidem urgenti 
sermone com prim unt, promerent potius aureum can- 
tharum, promerent auctoramentum illud sui sceleris, 
quod simulatione sollemnium, quae in operto facti- 
taverant, ab ipsis pulvinaribus matris deum clanculo 
furati, prorsus quasi possent tanti facinoris evadere 
supplicium tacita profectione, adhuc luce dubia 
10 pomerium 'pervaserint. Nee defuit qui, manu super 
dorsum meum iniecta, in ipso deae quam gerebam 
gremio scrutatus, repperiret atque incoram omnium 
aureum depromeret cantharum. Nee isto saltern 
tarn nefario scelere impuratissima ilia capita con- 
futari terrerive potuere, sed mendacioso risu cavil- 
lantes, " En " inquiunt " Indignae rei scaevitatem, 
qua plerumque insontes periclitantur homines ! Prop- 
ter unicum caliculum, quern deum mater sorori suae 
deae Syriae hospitale munus obtulit, noxios reli- 
gionis antistites ad discrimen vocari capitis ! " Haec 


quagmires and foggy marshes, and sometimes very 
slippery with mud and filth, whereby my legs failed 
me with often stumbling and falling, in such sort 
that I could scarce come wearily and with bruised 
legs to the plain field-paths. And behold by and by 
from behind a great company of the inhabitants of 
the town, armed with weapons and on horseback, 
overtook us, hardly pulling up the horses of their 
car, for they galloped furiously, they incontinently 
arrested Philebus and his priests, and tied them by 
the necks and beat them cruelly, calling them sacri- 
legious thieves and vile robbers, and after that they 
had manacled their hands they urged them furiously 
again and again : " Shew us," quoth they, " The cup 
of gold, the temptation of your crime, which you 
have taken privily away from the very shrine of the 
Mother of the gods, under the colour of your solemn 
religion, which you must needs perform secretly shut 
up in her temple ; and now you think to escape in 
the night without punishment for your deed, leaving 
the boundaries of town and setting secretly forth 
before it be yet light." By and by one came towards 
me, and thrusting his hand into the bosom of the 
goddess which I bare, found and brought out before 
them all the cup which they had stole : howbeit, for 
all their robbery which appeared evident and plain, 
those accursed and vile creatures would not be con- 
founded or abashed, but, jesting and laughing out the 
matter, began to say : " Is it reason, masters, that 
you should thus rigorously intreat us, as often befalls 
innocent men, and threaten to bring the faithful 
priests of religion into danger of death for a small 
trifling cup, which the Mother of the gods deter- 
mined to give to her sister for a present?" How- 
beit, for all their lies and cavillations, they were 



et alias similes afannas frustra blaterantes eos re- 
trorsus abducunt pagani statimque vinctos in Tul- 
lianum compingunt cantharoque et ipso simulacro, 
quod gerebam, apud fani donarium redditis ac con- 
secratis, altera die productum me rursum voce prae- 
conis venui subiciunt septemque nummis carius, quam 
prius me comparaverat Philebus, quidam pistor de 
proximo castello praestinavit, protinusque fru- 
mento etiam coemto affatim onustum per iterarduum 
scrupis et cuiuscemodi stirpibus infestum ad pistri- 
num, quod exercebat, perducit. 

Ibi complurium iumentorum multivii circuitus in- 
torquebant molas ambage varia ; nee die tantum, 
verum perpeti etiam nocte prorsus instabili machina- 
rum vertigine lucubrabant pervigilem farinam. Sed 
mihi, ne rudimentum servitii perhorrescerem scilicet, 
novus dominus loca lautia prolixe praebuit : nam et 
diem primum ilium feriatum dedit et cibariis abun- 
danter instruxit praesepium. Nee tamen ilia otii 
saginaeque beatitudo duravit ulterius, sed die se- 
quenti molae, quae maxima videbatur, matutinus 
adstituor et illico velata facie propeller ad incurva 
spatia flexuosi canalis, ut in orbe termini circum- 
fluentis reciproco gressu mea recalcans vestigia 
vagarer errore certo. Nee tamen sagacitatis ac 
prudentiae meae prorsus oblitus facilem me tiro- 
cinio disciplinae praebui sed, quamquam frequenter, 
cum inter homines agerem, raachinas similiter cir- 
cumrotari vidissem, tamen, ut expers et ignarus 
operis, stupore mentito defixus haerebam, quod 
enim rebar ut minus aptum et huiusmodi ministerio 


carried back to the town and put in prison by the 
inhabitants, who, taking the cup of gold and the 
image of the goddess which I bare, did put and con- 
secrate them amongst the treasure of the temple. 
The next day I was carried to the market to be sold 
by the voice of the crier, and again my price was set ; 
but I was sold at seven pence more than Philebus 
gave for me. There fortuned to pass by a baker of 
the next village, who, after that he had bought a 
great deal of corn, bought me likewise to carry it 
home, and when he had well laded me therewith, he 
drove me through a stony and dangerous way to his 

There I saw a great company of horses that went 
round and round in the mill turning the stones and 
grinding of corn : and not by day only, but at night 
also they must needs still work at the mill and make 
flour in those engines that never stood still : but lest 
I should be discouraged at the first, my master enter- 
tained me well in a luxurious place ; for the first day 
I had a holiday and did nothing but fare daintily at 
a full manger. Howbeit, such mine ease and felicity 
did not long endure ; for the next day following I 
was tied to the greatest mill (as it seemed to me) 
betimes in the morning with my face covered, and 
placed in a small path of a circle to the end in turn- 
ing and winding so often one way I might keep a 
certain course and tread in my own path again and 
again. ^ But 1 forgat not my wisdom and careful 
prudence so as to lend myself too easily to the 
new labour, for although when I was a man I had 
seen many such horse-mills, and knew well enough 
how they should be turned, yet feigning myself 
ignorant of such kind of toil I stood still and 
would not go, whereby I thought I should be taken 
2D 417 


satis inutilera me ad alium quempiam, utique levi- 
orem laborem legatum iri, vel otiosum certe ciba- 
tum iri. Sed frustra sollertiam damnosam exercui : 
complures enim protinus baculis arraati me circum- 
steterunt atque, ut eram luminibus obtectis securus 
etiamnunc, repente signo dato et clamore conferto 
plagas ingerentes acervatim, adeo me strepitu turbu- 
lentant, ut cunctis consiliis abiectis illico scitissime 
taeniae sparteae totus innixus discursus alacres obi- 
12rem: at subita sectae commutatione risum toto 
coetu commoveram. 

lamque maxima diei parte transacta defectum alio- 
quin me,helcio sparteo dimoto, nexu machinae libera- 
tum applicant praesepio. At ego quamquam eximie 
fatigatus et refectione virium vehementer indiguus 
et prorsus fame perditus, tamen familiari curiositate 
attonitus et satis anxius, postposito cibo qui copio- 
sus aderat, inoptabilis officinae disciplinam cum de- 
lectatione quadam arbitrabar. Dii boni ! Quales illic 
homunculi vibicibus lividis totam cutem depicti dor- 
sumque plagosum scissili centunculo magis inumbrati 
quam obtecti, nonnulli exiguo tegili tanturn modo 
pubem iniecti, cuncti tamen sic tu::!cati ut essent 
per pannulos manifest!, frontes litterati et capillum 
seinirasi et pedes annulati, turn lurore deformes et 
fumosis tenebris vaporosae caliginis palpebras adesi 
atque adeo male luminati, et in modum pugilum, 


from the mill as an ass unapt, and put to some 
other lighter labour, or else to be driven into the 
fields to pasture : but my subtlety did me small 
profit, for by and by when the mill stood still, the 
many servants came about me armed with sticks, 
whereas I suspected nothing, mine eyes being 
covered, and suddenly when a sign was given they 
cried out and plentifully beat me forward, in such 
sort that I could not stay to advise myself, because 
of the sudden attack and noise, but leaned sturdily 
against my rope and went briskly on my appointed 
path ; whereby all the company laughed to see so 
sudden a change. 

When a good part of the day was past, so that 1 
was not able to endure any longer, they took oft' mv 
harness, and tied me to the manger; but although 
my bones were weary, and that I needed to refresh 
myself with rest and provender, being utterly dead 
with hunger, yet I was so curious and anxious also, 
that I did greatly delight to behold the horrible 
fashion of the baker's mill, in so much that I could 
not eat nor drink while I looked on, although there 
was food in plenty. O good Lord, what a sort of poor 
slaves were there ; some had their skin bruised all 
over black and blue, some had their backs striped 
with lashes and were but covered rather than clothed 
with torn rags, some had their members only hidden 
by a narrow cloth, all wore such ragged clouts that 
you might perceive through them all their naked 
bodies, some were marked and burned in the fore- 
head with hot irons, some had their hair half 
clipped, some had shackles on their legs, ugly and 
evil favoured, some could scarce see, their eyes and 
faces were so black and dim with smoke, their eye- 
lids all cankered with the darkness of that reeking 



qui pulvisculo perspersi dimicant, farinulenta cinere 
13 sordide candidati. lam de meo iumentario contu- 
bernio quid vel ad quern modum memorem? Quales 
illi muli senes vel cantherii debiles ! Circa praesepium 
capita demersi contruncabant moles palearum, cer- 
vices cariosa vulnerum putredine follicantes,nares lan- 
guidas assiduo pulsu tussedinis hiulci, pectora copulae 
sparteae tritura continua exulcerati, costas perpetua 
castigatione ossium tenus renudati, ungulas multivia 
circumcursione in enorme vestigium porrecti totum- 
que corium veterno atque scabiosa macie exasperati. 
Talis familiae funestum mihi etiam metuens exem- 
plum veterisque Lucii fortunam recordatus et ad 
ultimam salutis metam detrusus summisso capite 
maerebam. Nee ullum uspiam cruciabilis vitae sola- 
cium aderat, nisi quod ingenita mihi curiositate re- 
creabar dum praesentiam meam parvi facientes libere 
quae volunt omnes et agunt et loquuntur. Nee im- 
merito priscae poeticae divinus auctor apud Graios 
sumniae prudentiae virum monstrare cupiens mul- 
tarum civitatum obitu et variorum populorum cognitu 
summas adeptum virtutes cecinit : nam et ipse gratas 
gratias asino meo memini, quod me suo celatum 
tegmine variisque fortunis exercitatum, etsi minus 
14 prudentem, multiscium reddidit. Fabulam denique 


place, half blind and sprinkled black and white 
with dirty flour like boxers which fight together be- 
fouled with sand. But how should I speak of the 
horses my companions, how they, being old mules or 
weak horses, thrust their heads into the manger and 
ate the heaps of straws ? They had their necks all 
wounded and worn away with old sores, they rattled 
their nostrils with a continual cough, their sides were 
bare with continued rubbing of their harness and 
great travail, their ribs were broken and the bones 
did show with perpetual beating, their hoofs were 
battered very broad with endless walking, and 
their whole skin ragged by reason of mange and 
their great age. When I saw this dreadful sight, I 
greatly began to fear lest I should come to the like 
state : and considering with myself the good fortune 
which I was sometime in when I was a man, I greatly 
despaired and lamented, holding down my head, but 
I saw no comfort or consolation of my torments, saving 
that my mind and my inborn curiosity was somewhat 
recreated to hear and understand what every man 
said and did, for they neither feared nor doubted 
my presence. At that time I remembered how truly 
Homer, the divine author of ancient Poetry among 
the Greeks, described him to be a wise man 1 which 
had travelled divers countries and nations, and by 
straitly observing them all had obtained great virtue 
and knowledge. Wherefore I do now give great 
thanks to my assy form, in that by that mean I have 
seen the experience of many things, and am become 
more experienced (notwithstanding that 1 was then 
very little wise). ' 3ut I will tell you a pretty and 
handsome jest, which coineth nowto my remembrance, 
1 The description of Ulysses in the opening Hues of the 


bonam prae ceteris suavem compertu ad aures vestras 
afferre decrevi, et en occipio. 

Pistor ille qui me pretio suum fecerat, bonus alio- 
quin vir et apprime modestus, pessimam et ante 
cunctas mulieres longe deterrimam sortitus coniu- 
gam poenas extremas tori Larisque sustinebat, ut 
Hercule eius vicem ego quoque tacitus frequenter 
ingemescerem. Nee enim vel unum vitium iiequis- 
simae illi feminae deerat, sed omnia prorsus, ut in 
quandam caenosam latrinam, in eius animum flagitia 
confluxerant : saeva, scaeva, virosa, ebriosa, pervicax, 
pertinax, in rapinis turpibus avara, in sumptibus foedis 
profusa, inimica fidei, hostis pudicitiae : tune spretis 
atque calcatis divinis numinibus in vicem certae 
religionis mentita sacrilega praesumptione dei, quern 
praedicaret unicum, confictis observationibus vacuis 
fallens omnes homines et miserum maritum decipiens 
matutino mero et continue stitpro corpus manciparat. 
1 5 Talis ilia mulier miro me persequebatur odio : nam 
et antelucio recubans adhuc subiungi machinae 
novicium clamabat asinum, et statim ut cubiculo 
primum processerat insistens iubebat incoram sui 
plagas mihi quam plurimas irrogari et,cum tempestivo 
prandio laxarentur iumenta cetera, longe tardius 
applicari praesepio iubebat. Quae saevitia multo 
mihi magis genuinam curiositatem in suos mores 
ampliaverat : nam et assiduo plane commeantem in 
eius cubiculum quendam sentiebam iuvenem, cuius 
et faciem videre cupiebam ex summo studio, si tamen 


to the intent your ears may be delighted in hearing 
the same, and I do now begin it. 

The baker which bought me was an honest and 
sober man, but his wife the most pestilent woman in 
all the world, in so much that he endured with her 
many miseries and afflictions to his bed and house, 
so that I myself did secretly pity his estate and 
bewail his evil fortune : for there was not one single 
fault that was lacking to her, but all the mis- 
chiefs that could be devised had flowed into her 
heart as into some filthy privy ; she was crabbed, 
cruel, cursed, drunken, obstinate, niggish, covetous 
in base robberies, riotous in filthy expenses, an enemy 
to faith and chastity, a despiser of all the gods whom 
others did honour, one that affirmed that she had 
instead of our sure religion an only god by herself, 1 
whereby, inventing empty rites and ceremonies, she 
deceived all men, but especially her poor husband, 
delighting in drinking wine,yea, early in the morning, 
and abandoning her body to continual whoredom. 
This mischievous quean hated me in such wonder- 
ful sort that she commanded every day, before she 
was up, that I, the new ass, should be put in the 
mill to grind : and the first thing which she would 
do in the morning, when she had left her chamber, 
was to see me cruelly beaten, and that I should 
grind and be kept from the manger long after the 
other beasts did feed and take rest. When I saw 
that I was so cruelly handled, she gave me great 
desire to learn her conversation and her life ; for 
I saw oftentimes a young man, which would privily 
go into her chamber, whose face I did greatly desire 

l It is supposed that Apuleius represents this abandoned 
woman as a Christian, and so expresses his dislike and con- 
tempt of the new religion. 



velamentum capitis libertatem tribuisset meis ali- 
quando luminibus ; nee enim mihi sollertia defuisset 
ad detegenda quoquo modo pessimae feminae 
flagitia. Sed anus quaedam stuprum sequestra et 
adulterorum internuntia de die cotidie inseparabilis 
aderat, cum qua protinus ientaculo ac dehinc vino 
mero mutuis vicibus velitata scaenas fraudulentas 
in exitium miserrimi mariti subdolis ambagibus con- 
struebat. At ego, quamquam graviter suscensens 
errori Fotidis, quae me dum avem fabricat, perfecit 
asinum, isto tamen vel unico solacio aerumnabilis 
deformitatis meae recreabar, quod auribus grandis- 
simis praeditus cuncta longule etiam dissita facillime 

16 Denique die quadam madidae 1 illius aniculae 
sermo talis meas affertur aures : " De isto quidem, 
mi herilis, tecum ipsa videris, quem sine meo consilio 
pigrum et formidulosum familiarem istum sortita es, 
qui insuavis et odiosi mariti tui caperratum super- 
cilitim ignaviter perhorrescit ac per hoc amoris 
languidi desidia tuos volentes amplexus discruciat. 
Quanto melior Philesitherus adulescens et formosus 
et liberalis et strenuus et contra maritorum inefficaces 
diligentias constantissimus, dignus Hercule solus 
omnium matronarum deliciis perfrui, dignus solus 
coronam auream capite gestare, vel ob unicum istud, 
quod nunc nuper in quendam zelotypum maritum ex- 
imio studio commentus est. Audi denique et amato- 
rum diversum ingenium compara. 

17 "Nosti quendam Barbarum nostrae civitatis de- 
curionem, quem Scorpionem prae morum acritudine 
vulgus appellat? Hie uxorem generosam et eximia 

l Heinsius' emendation for the MSS' timidae. Helm's 
intimidae may well be right. 



to see, but I could not, by reason mine eyes were 
covered every day : and verily, if I had been free 
and at liberty, I would have discovered all her 
abomination. She had an old woman, a bawd, a 
messenger of mischief, that daily haunted to her 
house, and made good cheer with her at breakfast, 
and then they would drink wine unmixed, and after 
this first skirmish they would contrive and plot to 
the utter undoing and impoverishment of her 
husband : but I, that was greatly offended with the 
negligence of Fotis, who made me an ass instead of 
a bird, did yet comfort myself for the miserable 
deformity of my shape by this only mean, in that I 
had long ears, whereby I might hear all things that 
were done even afar off. 

On a day I heard the shameless old bawd say to 
the baker's wife : " Dame, you have chosen (notwith- 
standing my counsel) a young man to your lover, who 
as meseemeth is dull, fearful, without any grace, and 
dastardly coucheth at the frowning looks of your 
odious husband, whereby you have no delight nor 
pleasure with him. How far better is the young 
man Philesitherus, who is comely, beautiful, in the 
flower of his youth, liberal, courteous, valiant, and 
stout against the diligent pryings and watches of 
husbands, alone worthy to embrace the worthiest 
dames of this country, and alone worthy to wear a 
crown of gold, be it for one part alone that he 
played with clever wit to one that was jealous over 
his wife. Hearken how it was, and then judge the 
diversity of these two lovers. 

" Know you one Barbarus, a senator of our town, 
whom the vulgar people call likewise Scorpion for 
his peevish manners ? This Barbarus had a gentle- 
woman to his wife, of exceeding beauty, whom he 



forraositate praeditam mira custodela munitam domi 
suae quam cautissime cohibebat." Ad haec ultima 
pistoris ilia uxor subiciens, " Quidni ? " inquit " Novi 
diligenter. Areten meam condiscipulam memoras." 
" Ergo " inquit anus " Nosti totam Philesitheri et 
ipsius fabulam ? " " Minima gentium," inquit " Sed 
nosse valde cupio, et oro, mater, ordine mihi singula 
retexe." Nee commorata ilia sermocinatrix immodica 
sic anus incipit : 

" Barbarus iste cum necessarian! profectionem 
pararet pudicitiamque carae coniugis conser- 
vare summa diligentia cuperet, servulum suum 
Myrmecem, fidelitate praecipua cognitum, secreto 
commonet suaeque dominae custodelam omnem 
permittit; carcerem et perpetua vincula, mortem 
denique violentana defamem comminatus, si quisquam 
hominum vel in transitu digito tenus earn contigisset, 
idque deierans etiam confirmat per omnia divina 
numina. Ergo igitur summo pavore perculsum 
Myrmecem acerrimum relinquens uxori secutorem, 
securam dirigit profectionem. Tune obstinato animo 
vehementer anxius Myrmex nee usquam dominam 
suain progredi sinebat, et lanificio domestico destrictam 
inseparabilis assidebat,ac tantum necessario vespertini 
lavacri progressu affixus atque conglutinatus,extremas 
manu prendens lacinias, mira sagacitate commissae 
18 provinciae fidem tuebatur. Sedardentem Philesitheri 
vigilantiam matronae nobilis pulchritude latere non 
potuit, atque hac ipsa potissimum famosa castitate et 


caused daily to be enclosed within his house with 
diligent custody." Then the baker's wife said : " I 
know her very well, for her name is Arete, and we 
two dwelled together at one school." "Then you 
know," quoth the old woman, "The whole tale of 
Philesitherus ? " "No, verily," said she, "But I 
greatly desire to know it : therefore I pray you, 
mother, tell me the whole story." By and by the 
old woman, which knew well to babble, began to tell 
as followeth : 

" You shall understand that on a day this Barbarus, 
preparing himself to ride abroad, and willing to keep 
the chastity of his wife (whom he so well loved) 
alone to himself, called his man Myrmex (whose 
faith he had tried and proved in many things) and 
secretly committed to him the custody of his wife, 
threatening him. that if any man did but touch her 
with his finger as he passed by, he would not only 
put him in prison, and bind him hand and foot, but 
also cause him to be put to death cruelly and shame- 
fully ; which words he confirmed by oath of all the 
gods in heaven, and so he departed careless away, 
leaving Myrmex to follow his wife with all diligence. 
When Barbarus was gone Myrmex, being greatly 
astonished and afraid at his master's threatenings, 
was exceeding constant and fixed in his purport-, 
and would not suffer his mistress to go abroad, 
but as she sat all day a-spinning, he was so careful he sat by her ; and when night came he- 
went with her to the baths, holding her by the 
garment, so faithful he was to fulfil the command- 
ment of his master Howbeit. the beauty of 
this noble matron could not be hidden from the 
burning eyes of Philesitherus, who considering lu-r 
great chastity, and how she was diligently kept by 


insignis tutelae nimietate instinctus atque inflarn- 
matus, quidvis facere, quidvis pati paratus, ad expug- 
nandam tenacem domus disciplinam totis accingitur 
viribus ; certusque fragilitatis humanae fidei et quod 
pecuniae cunctae sint difficultates perviae auroque 
soleant adamantiriae etiam perfringi fores, opportune 
nanctus Myrmecis solitatem, ei amorem suum aperit 
et supplex eum medelam cruciatui deprecatur; nam 
sibi statutam decretamque mortem proximare ni 
maturius cupito potiatur : nee eum tamen quicquam 
in re facili formidare debere, quippe cum vespera 
solus, fide tenebrarum contectus atque absconditus, 
introrepere et intra momentum temporis remeare 
posset. His et huiuscemodi suadelis validum adde- 
bat cuneum, qui rigentem prorsus servi tenaci- 
tatem violenter diffinderet ; porrecta enim manu sua 
demonstrat ei novitate nimia candentes solidos aureos, 
quorum viginti quidem puellae destinasset, ipsi vero 
19 decem libenter ofFerret. Exhorruit Myrmex inauditum 
facinus et occlusis aunbus effugit protinus : nee auri 
tamen splendor flammeus oculos ipsius exire potuit, 
sed quam procul semotus et domum celeri gradu 
pervectus videbat tamen decora ilia monetae lumina 
et opulentam praedam iam tenebat animo, miroque 
mentis salo et cogitationum dissensione misellus in 
diversas sententias carpebatur ac distrahebatur : illic 
fides, hie lucrum ; illic cruciatus, hie voluptas. Ad 
postremum tamen formidinem mortis vicit aurura ; 



Myrmex, was greatly set afire, and ready to do or 
suffer aught to gain her ; and so he endeavoured by 
all kind of means to enterprise the matter, and to 
break through the serene guard of her house, and 
remembered the fragility of man, that might be 
enticed and corrupted with money, since by gold even 
adamant gates may be opened. On a day when he 
found Myrmex alone, he discovered his love, desiring 
him to shew his favour to heal him thereof (otherwise 
he intended and should certainly die unless he soon 
obtained his desire) with assurance that he need not 
fear, as he might privily be let in alone and under 
the covering of the night, without knowledge of any 
person, and in a moment come out again. To these, 
and other gentle words, he added a wedge which 
might violently split the hard tenacity of Myrmex ; 
for he shewed him glittering new gold pieces in his 
hand, saying that he would give his mistress twenty 
crowns, and him ten. 

" Now Myrmex, hearing these words, was greatly 
troubled, abhorring in his mind to commit so wicked 
a mischief; wherefore he stopped his ears, and 
turning his head departed away. Howbeit, although 
far apart and having now speedily gotten him home, 
the glittering hue of these crowns could never out of 
his mind, but he seemed to see the money, which was 
so worthy a prey, before his eyes. Wherefore, poor 
Myrmex was tossed on the waves of opinions and 
was utterly distracted and could not tell what to do; 
for on the one side, he considered the promise which 
he made to his master, and the punishment which 
should ensue if he did contrary, while on the other 
side, he thought of the gain and passing pleasure of 
the crowns of gold. In the end the desire of the 
money did more prevail than the fear of death, for 



nee saltern spatiocupido formosae pecuniae leniebatur, 
sed nocturnas etiam curas invaserat pestilens avaritia, 
ut quamvis herilis eum comminatio domi cohiberet, 
auruin tamen foras evocaret. Tune devorato pudore 
et dimota cunctatione, sic ad aures dominae mandatum 
perfert : nee a genuiiia levitate descivit mulier sed 
execrando metallo pudicitiam suam protinus auctorata 
est. Ita gaudio perfusus ad suae fidei praecipitium 
praecipitat 1 Myrmex, non modo capere, verum 
saltern contingere, quam exitio suo viderat, pecuniam 
cupiens et magnis suis laboribus perfectum de- 
siderium Philesithero laetitia percitus iiuntiat, 
statimque destinatum praemium reposcit ; et tenet 
nummos aureos maims Myrmecis quae nee aereos 
20 norat. lamque nocte promota solum perducit ad 
domum, probeque capita contectum ainatorem 
strenuum infert adusque dominae cubiculum. Commo- 
duin novis amplexibus amori rudi litabant, commodum 
prima stipeiidia Veneri militabant nudi rnilites ; et 
contra omnium opinionem captata noctis opportuni- 
tate improvisus maritus assistit. Suae domus ianuam 
iam pulsat, iam clamat, iam saxo fores verberat, et 
ipsa tarditate magis magisque suspectus dira com- 
minatur Myrmeci supplicia. At ille repentino malo 
perturbatus et misera trepidatione ad inopiam consilii 
deductus, quod solum poterat, nocturnas tenebras 
sibi causabatur obsistere quin clavem curiose abscon- 
ditam repperiret : interdum Philesitherus cognito 
strepitu raptim tunicas iniectus sed plane prae turba- 

1 A verb is required to complete the sense. Praecijiiiat is 
van der Vliet's suggestion. 



the desire of the flourishing crowns was not abated 
by distance of space, but it did even invade his 
dreams in the night time, and where the menaces of 
his master compelled him to tarry at home, the 
pestilent avarice of the gold egged him out of doors ; 
wherefore, putting all shame aside without further 
delay, he declared the whole matter to his mistress ; 
who, according to the light nature of women, when 
she heard him speak of so great a sum, put her 
chastity in pawn to the vile money. Myrmex, seeing 
the intent of his mistress, was very glad, and hastened 
to the ruin and breaking of his faith, and for great 
desire that the gold should not only be his, but that 
he might handle the same instantly, ran hastily to 
Philesitherus, declaring that his mistress had consented 
to his mind, wherefore he demanded the gold which 
he promised ; and then incontinently Philesitherus 
delivered him ten golden crowns, who had never 
before possessed even money of copper. When night 
came, Myrmex brought him disguised and covered 
into his mistress' chamber; but, about midnight, 
when he and she were together making the first 
sacrifice of love unto the goddess Venus, behold, her 
husband (contrary to their expectation) came and 
knocked at the door, calling with a loud voice and 
beating upon it with a stone. Their long tarn in u' 
increased the suspicion of the master, in such sort 
that he threatened to beat Myrmex cruelly : but he, 
being troubled with fear, and driven to his latter 
shifts, excused the matter as best he could, saying 
that he could not find the key, by reason it had been 
hidden curiously away and that the night was so 
dark. In the mean season Philesitherus, hearing tli-- 
noise at the door, slipt on his coat (yet barefoot. 
because of his great confusion) and privily ran out 



tione pedibus intectis procurrit cubiculo. Tune 
Myrraex tandem clave pessulis subiecta repandit 
fores et recipit etiam tune fidem deum boantem 
dominum, eoque propere cubiculum petente, clandes- 
tine transcursu dimittit Philesitherum. Quo iam pro 
limine liberato securus sui clausa domo rursum se 
reddidit quieti. 

" Sed dum prima luce Barbaras procedit cubiculo, 
videt sub lectulo soleas incognitas quibus inductus 
Philesitherus irrepserat, suspectisque e re nata quae 
gesta sunt, non uxori, non ulli familiarium cordolio 
patefacto, sublatis iis et in siiium furtim absconditis, 
iusso tantum Myrmece per conserves vincto forum 
versus attrahi, tacitos secum mugitus iterans rapidum 
dirigit gressum, certus solearum indicio vestigium 
adulteri posse se perfacile indipisci. Sed ecce per 
plateam dum Barbaras vultu turgido subductisque 
superciliis incedit iratus ac pone eum Myrmex vinculis 
obrutus, non quid em coram noxae prehensus, con- 
scientia tamen pessima permixtus, lacrimis uberibus 
ac postremis lamentationibus inefficacem commovet 
miserationem, opportune Philesitherus occurrens, 
quamquam diverse quodam negotio destinatus, re- 
pentina tamen facie permotus, non enim deterritus, 
recolens festinationis suae delictum et cetera conse- 
quenter suspicatus sagaciter, extemplo sumpta 
familiar! constantia, dimotis servulis invadit cum 


of the chamber. When at last Myrmex had fitted 
the key into the lock and opened the door to his 
master that still threatened terribly by all the gods, 
and had let him in, he went into the chamber to 
his wife ; in the mean while Myrmex let out Phile- 
sitherus, and when he had seen him pass the thresh- 
old, he barred the doors safe, and went to bed, 
fearing nothing. 

" The next morning, when Barbaras was about 
leaving his chamber, he perceived two unknown 
slippers lying under his bed, in the which Phile- 
sitherus had entered the night before. Then he 
conceived a great suspicion and jealousy in his 
mind : howbeit, he would not discover his heart's 
sorrow to his wife, neither to any other of his house- 
hold, but putting secretly the slippers in his bosom, 
commanded his other servants to bind Myrmex 
incontinently, and to bring him quickly bound to 
the justice after him, groaning and wailing inwardly 
within himself, and thinking verily that by the 
means of the slippers lie might track out the matter. 
It fortuned that while Barbarus went through the 
street towards the justice with a countenance of fury 
and rage, and Myrmex fast bound followed him 
weeping, not yet because he was found guilty before 
the master, but by reason he knew his own con- 
science guilty and therefore he cried bitterly and 
called upon the mercy which availed him nothing, 
behold.' by adventure Philesitherus (going about 
other earnest business) fortuned to meet them by 
the way ; who, fearing the matter which he so 
suddenly saw, yet not utterly dismayed, remembering 
that which he had forgotten in his haste, and con- 
jecturing the rest, did suddenly invent a mean, for 
that he was of great confidence and present mind, 
2E *SS 


sumrrto clarrtore Myrmecem pugnisque malas eiiis 

dementer 1 obtundens, ' At te ' inquit ' Nequissimum 

et periurtim caput, dominus iste tuns et cuncta caeli 

numina, quae deierando temere devorasti, pessimum 

pessime perduint, qui de balneis soleas hesterna die 

mihi furatus es. Dignus Hercule, dignus qui et ista 

vincula conteras et insuper carceris etiam tenebras 

perferas.' Hac opportuna fallacia vigorati iuvenis 

inductus, immo sublatus et ad credulitatem delapsus 

Barbarus> postliminio domum regressus, vocato Myr- 

mece soleas illas ofFerens et ignovit ex animo et uti 

domino redderet, cui surripuerat, siiasit." 

22 Hactenus adhuc anicula garriente suscipit mulier : 

" Beatam illam quae tarn constantis sodalis libertate 

fruitur ! At ego misella molae etiam sonum et ecce 

illius scabiosi asini faciem timentera familiarem in- 

cidi." Ad haec anus : " lam tibi ego probe suasum et 

confirmatum animi amatorem ilium alacrem vadimo- 

nium sistam," et insuper condicta vespertina regres- 

sione cubiculo facessit. At pudica uxor statim cenas 

saliares comparat, vina pretiosa defaecat, pulmenta 

recentia tuccetis temperat mensa largiter instructa. 

Denique ut dei cuiusdam adventus, sic expectatur 

adulteri ; nam et opportune maritus foris apud 

naccam proximum cenitabat. Ergo igitur metis die 2 

1 The MSS have clemcntcr, which must surely be wrong, and 
Pricaeus suggested indementer. I have, with some diffi- 
dence, written dementer. 

2 The MSS have mcridie ; but the old woman has just said 
that she will be back at evening, so that I have printed 
Helm's emendation. 



to excuse Myrmex ; for he thrust away the slaves 
and ran upon him and beat him wildly about 
the head with his fists, saying: 'Ah, mischievous 
varlet that thou art, and perjured knave, it were a 
good deed if thy master here would put thee to 
death, and all the gods whom thou hast hastily 
swallowed down with thy false swearing, for thou art 
worthy to be imprisoned in a dark dungeon, and to 
wear out these irons, that stolest my slippers away 
when thou wert at the baths yesternight.' Barbarus, 
hearing these words, was utterly convinced and 
deceived by the timely subtlety of that clever 
youth, and returned incontinently home, and calling 
his servant Myrmex, forgave him and commanded 
him to deliver the slippers again to the right owner, 
whence he had stolen the same." 

The old woman had scarce finished her tale, 
when the baker's wife began to say : " Verily she 
is blessed, and most blessed, that hath the free 
fruition of so worthy a lover; but as for me, poor 
wretch, I am fallen into the hands of a coward, 
who is afraid every clap of the mill, and dares do 
nothing before the blind face of yonder scabbed 
ass." Then the old woman answered: "I promise 
you certainly, if you will, you shall have this young 
man, that is firm and constant of mind, as well 
as smart and brisk, at your pleasure this very even- 
ing," and therewithal she departed out of the 
chamber, appointing to return at night. In the 
mean season, the baker's chaste wife made ready a 
lordly supper with abundance of wine and exquisite 
fare, fresh meat and gravy, and waited for the coming 
of the young man as for some god : for it happened 
by good fortune that her husband supped at a 
fuller's that lived next door. When, therefore, 



propinquante helcio tandem absolutus refectuique 
secure redditus non tarn Hercule laboris libertatem 
gratulabar, quam quod revelatis luminibus libere 
iam cunctas facinorosae mulieris artes prospectare 
poteram. Sol ipsum quidem delapsus Oceanum 
subterrenas orbis plagas illuminabat, et ecce nequissi- 
mae anus adhaerens later! temerarius adulter ad- 
ventat, puer admodum et adhuc lubrico genarum 
splendore conspicuus, adhuc adulteros ipse delectans : 
hunc multis admodum saviis exceptum mulier cenam 
23 iubet paratam accumbere. Sed ut primum occur- 
soriam potionem et inchoatum gustum extremis 
labiis contingebat adulescens, multo celerius opinione 
rediens maritus adventat. Tune uxor egregia diras 
devotiones in eum deprecata et crurum ei fragium 
abominata, exsangui formidine trepidantem adul- 
terum alveo ligneo, quo frumenta confusa purgari 
consuerantj temere propter iacenti suppositum 
abscondit, ingenitaque astutia dissimulate tanto 
flagitio, intrepidum mentita vultum, percontatur de 
marito, cur utique contubernalis artissimi deserta 
cenula praematurus afforet. At ille dolenti prorsus 
animo suspirans assidue, "Nefarium" inquit "Et 
extremum facinus perditae feminae tolerare nequiens 
fuga me proripui. Hem qualis, dii boni, matrona, 
quam fida quamque sobria turpissimo se dedecore 
foedavit ! luro per istam ego sanctam Cererem, 
me nunc etiam meis oculis de tali muliere minus cre- 
dere." His instincta verbis mariti audacissima uxor 


the day was coming towards its term, so that my 
harness should be taken off and that I should rest 
myself in peace, I was not so joyful of my liberty, as 
that the veil being taken from mine eyes, I should 
see all the abomination of this mischievous quean. 
When night was come and the sun gone down 
beneath the sea to lighten the under part of the 
earth, behold the old bawd and the young lover at 
her side came to the door ; and he seemed to me 
but a boy, by reason that his cheeks were yet smooth 
and bright, and very pleasant : then the baker's wife 
kissed him a thousand times, and receiving him cour- 
teously, placed him down at the table. But he had 
scarce taken any first draught nor eaten the first 
morsel, when the good man (contrary to his wife's 
expectation) returned home, for she thought he 
would not have come so soon ; but, Lord, how she 
cursed him, good woman, praying God that he might 
break his legs at the first entry in. In the mean 
season she caught her lover, that was now very pale 
and trembling, and thrust him into the bin that lay 
near by some chance, where she accustomed to sift 
her flour, and dissembling her wickedness by her 
wonted craft, put on a firm countenance and asked 
of her husband why he came home so soon, and left 
the supper of his dear friend so early. " I could not 
abide," quoth he, deeply sighing, " To see so great a 
mischief and wicked fact which my neighbour's wife 
committed, but I must run away. Oh, how good and 
trusty a matron she seemed, but what a harlot is she 
become, and how she hath dishonoured her husband ! 
I swear by this goddess Ceres that if I had not seen 
it with mine eyes I would never have believed i 
His wife, made desirous by his words to know t 
matter, desired him to tell what she had done ; and 



noscendae rei cupiens non cessat obtundere totam 
prorsus a principio fabulam promeret : nee de- 
stitit, donee eius voluntati succubuit maritus et 
sic, ignarus suorum, domus alienae percenset in- 
fortunium : 

24, " Contubernalis mei fullonis uxor, alioquin servati 
pudoris, ut videbatur, femina, quae semper secundo 
rumore gloriosa Larem mariti pudice gubernabat, 
occulta libidine prorumpit in adulterum quempiam : 
cumque furtivos amplexus obiret assidue, ipso illo 
denique momento, quo nos lauti cenam petebamus, 
cum eodem illo iuvene miscebatur in Venerem. Ergo 
nostra repente turbata praesentia, subitario ducta con- 
silio, eundem ilium subiectum contegit viminea cavea, 
quae fustium flexu tereti in rectum aggerata cumulum 
lacinias circumdatas suftusa candido fumo sulphuris 
inalbabat, eoque Jam, ut sibi videbatur, tutissime ce- 
lato mensam nobiscum secura participat. Interdum 
acerrimo gravique odore sulphuris iuvenis inescatus 
atque obnubilatus intercluso spiritu diffluebat, utque 
est ingenium vivacis metalli, crebras ei sternu- 

25 tationes commovebat. Atque ut primum e regione 
mulieris pone tergum eius maritus acceperat 
sonum sternutationis quod enim putaret ab ea pro- 
fectum solito sermone salutem ei fuerat imprecatus, 
et iterate rursum et frequentato saepius, donee rei 
nimietate commotus quod res erat tandem suspica- 
tur, et impulsa mensa protenus remotaque cavea pro- 
ducit hominem crebros anhelitus aegre reflantem ; 
inflammatusque indignatione contumeliae gladium 
flagitans iugulare moriturum gestiebat, ni respecto 
communi periculo vix eum ab impetu furioso cohib- 
uissem, asseverans brevi absque noxa nostri suapte 
inimicum eius violentia sulphuris periturum : nee 



she ceased not to urge him until he accorded to the 
request of his wife, and ignorant of the state of his 
own house, declared the mischance of another. ' 

" You shall understand," said he, " That the wife of 
the fuller my companion, who seemed to be a wise 
and chaste woman, regarding her own horn-sty and 
the profit of her house, had begun secretly to love a 
knave, and did often meet him : and this very night, 
as we came back to supper from the baths, he and 
she were together. Then she was troubled by <nir 
sudden presence and thrust him into a mew made 
with twigs, built up high with rods woven in and 
out, and appointed to lay on clothes to make them 
white with the smoke and fume of brimstone : and 
so he being very safe hidden therein (as she thought) 
she sat with us at the table to colour the matter. In 
the mean season the young man, covered in the mew, 
could not forbear oft sneezing, by reason of the sharp 
smoke, for he was wholly surrounded and choked with 
the heavy fumes of this lively sublimate. The good 
man, thinking it had been his wife that sneezed (lor 
the noise thereof came from behind her back) cried, 
as they are wont to say, 'Christ help ' ; but when he 
sneezed more and more, he suspected the matter. 
and willing to know who it was, rose, pushing lxu-k 
the table, and went to the mew, where lie found the 
young man now choked well nigh dead with Mimke. 
When he understood the, whole matter he wa> p 
inflamed with anger at this outrage that he called 
for a sword to kill him : and undoubtedly he had 
so done, had not I hardly restrained his violent 
hands from his purpose, that had brought danger unto 
us all, assuring him that his enemy would die wit 
the force of the brimstone without any harm which 
he mio-ht get from it : howbeit, my words would 


suadela mea sed ipsius rei necessitate lenitus, quippe 
iaru semivivum ilium in proxumum deportat angipor- 
tum. Turn uxorem eius tacite suasi ac denique per- 
suasi secederet paululum atque ultra limen tabernae 
ad quampiam tantisper familiarem sibi mulierem mi- 
graret, 1 quoad spatio fervens mariti sedaretur animus, 
qui tanto calore tantaque rabie perculsus non erat 
dubius aliquid etiam de se suaque coniuge tristius 
profecto cogitm-e. Talium contubemalis epularum 
taedio fugatus Larem reveni meum." 

26 Haec recensente pistore iamdudum procax et 
temeraria mulier verbis execrantibus fullonis illius 
detestabatur uxorem, illam perfidam, illam impudi- 
cam, denique universi sexus grande dedecus, quae 
suo pudore postposito torique genialis calcato foe- 
dere Larem mariti lupanari maculasset infamia, iam- 
que perdita nuptae dignitate prostitutae sibi nomen 
adsciverit : addebat et tales oportere vivas exuri femi- 
nas. Et tamen taciti vulneris et suae sordidae con- 
scientiae commonita, quo maturius stupratorem suum 
tegminis cruciatu liberaret, identidem suadebat mari- 
tum temperius quieti decedere. At ille, utpote in- 
tercepta cena profugerat prorsus ieiunus, mensam 
potius comiter postulabat. Apponebat ei propere, 
quamvis invita mulier, quippini destinatam alii : sed 
mihi penita carpebantur praecordia et praecedens 
facinus et praesentem deterrimae feminae constan- 
tiam cogitanti mecumque sedulo deliberabam, si quo 
modo possem, detectis ac revelatis fraudibus, auxilium 
meo perhibere domino, illumque, qui ad instar testu- 
dinis alveum succubabat, depulso tegmine cunctis 

27 palam facere. Sic herili contumelia me cruciatum 
tandem caelestis respexit providentia : nam senex 

1 A verb seems to have dropped out of the text, Migraret 
is van der Vliet'e suggestion. 



not appease his fury, but as necessity required he 
took the young man well nigh choked, and carried 
him out at the doors to the nearest lane. In the 
mean season I counselled his wife and did persuade 
her to leave his shop and absent herself at some 
neighbour's house till the choler of her husband was 
pacified, lest he should be moved against her, and 
do her some harm and to himself also. And so being 
weary of their supper, I forthwith returned home." 

When the baker had told this tale, his impudent 
and rash wife began to curse and abhor the wife of 
the fuller, calling her whore and shameless, and a 
great shame to all the sex of women, in that she 
had lost all modesty, broken the bond of her hus- 
band's bed, turned his house into a bawdy-house, 
and had lost the dignity of a spouse to become an 
harlot ; and said that such women were worthy to 
be burned alive. But knowing her own guilty con- 
science and proper whoredom, that she might the 
sooner save her lover from hurt lying in the bin, she 
willed her husband now early to go to bed, but In-, 
having lost his supper and eaten nothing, said gently 
that he would sup before he went to rest : wherefore 
she was compelled, though very unwilling, to set 
such things on the table as she had prepared for her 
lover. But I was much troubled in heart, as con- 
sidering the past great mischief of this wicked qu.aii 
and her present obstinacy and impudence, and de- 
vised with myself how I might help my master by 
revealing the matter, and by kicking away the cover 
of the bin (where like a snail the young man was 
couched) make her whoredom apparent and known. 
As I was tormented by the insult put upon my master, 
at length I was aided by the providence of God, for 
there was a lame old man to whom the custody of 



claudus, cut nostra tutela permissa fuerat, universa 
nos iumenta, id hora iam postulante, ad lacum proxu- 
raum bibendi causa gregatim prominabat. Quae res 
optatissimam mihi vindictae subrainistravit occa- 
sionem : namque praetergrediens observatos extre- 
mus adulteri digitos, qui per angustias cavi tegminis 
prominebant, obliquata atque infesta ungula com- 
pressos usque ad summam minutieni contero, donee 
intolerabili dolore commotus, sublato flebili clamore, 
repulsoque et abiecto alveo, conspectui profano red- 
ditus scaenam propudiosae mulieris patefecit. Nee 
taraen pistor damno pudicitiae magnopere commotus 
exsangui pallore trepidantem puerum serena f route 
et propitiata facie commulcens incipit : " Nihil triste 
de me tibi, fili, metuas. Non sum barbarus nee 
agresti morum squalore praeditus, nee ad exem- 
plum naccinae truculentiae sulphuris te letali fumo 
necabo, ac ne iuris quidem severitate lege de adul- 
teriis ad discrimen vocabo capitis tarn venustum tam- 
que pulchellum puellum, sed plane cum uxore mea 
partiario tractabo ; nee herciscundae familiae sed com- 
muni dividundo formula dimicabo, ut sine ulla con- 
troversia vel dissensione tribus nobis in uno conveniat 
lectulo. Nam et ipse semper cum mea coniuge tarn 
concorditer vixi, ut ex secta prudentium eadem nobis 
ambobus placerent. Sed nee aequitas ipsa patitur 
habere plus auctoritatis uxorem quam maritum." 
28 Talis sermonis blanditie cavillatum deducebat ad 



us was committed, that drove me, poor ass. and the 
other horses in a herd to the water to drink, and 
the time was then come ; then had I good occasion 
ministered to my revenge, for as I passed by I per- 
ceived the fingers of the young man in the narrow 
space under the side of the bin, and lifting up my 
heels I spurned the flesh thereof with the force of 
my hoofs, and crushed them small, where by the great 
pain thereof he was compelled to cry out, and to throw 
down the bin on the ground, and so the whoredom 
of the baker's wife was known and revealed. The 
baker, seeing this, was little moved at the dishonesty 
of his wife, but he took the young man, pair and 
trembling for fear, by the hand, and with cold and 
courteous Avords spake in this sort : " Fear not any 
trouble from me, my son, nor think that I am so 
barbarous or cruel or rustical a person that I would 
stifle thee with the smoke of sulphur, as our neigh- 
bour the fuller accustometh, nor will I punish thee 
accord to the rigour of the Julian law, which coin- 
mandeth that adulterers should be put to death. 
No, no, I will not execute any cruelty against 
so fair and comely a young man as you be, 
but we will divide our pleasure between us; 
I will not sue thee for a division of our inheri- 
tance, but we will be equal partners by the 
sharing all three of one bed. For never hath 
there been any debate nor dissension between 
me and my wife, but both of us may be contented, 
for I have always lived with her in such tranquillity 
that according to the saying of the wise men, the 
one hath said, that the other holdeth for law ; but 
indeed equity will not suffer but that the husband 
should bear more authority than the wife." 
these and like smooth and jesting words he 



torum nolentem puerum, sequentem tamen, et pudi- 
cissima ilia uxore altrorsus disclusa solus ipse cum 
puero Cubans gratissima corruptarum nuptiarum vin- 
dicta perfruebatur. Sed cum prinium rota solis lucida 
diem peperit, vocatis duobus e familia validissimis, 
quam altissime sublato puero, ferula nates eius obver- 
berans, " Tu autem," inquit " Tam mollis ac tener 
et admodum puer, defraudatis amatoribus aetatis 
tuae flore, mulieres appetis atque eas liberas et con- 
nubia lege sociata corrumpis et intempestivum tibi 
nomen adulteri vindicas ? " His et pluribus verbis 
compellatum et insuper afFatim plagis castigatum 
forinsecus abicit ; at ille adulterorum omnium fortis- 
simus insperata potitus salute, tamen nates Candidas 
illas noctu diuque diruptus, maerens profugit : nee 
setius pistor ille nuntiiim remisit uxori eamque pro- 
29 tinus de sua proturbavit domo. At ilia praeter genu- 
inam nequitiam contumelia etiam, quamvis iusta, 
tamen altius commota atque exasperata ad armillum 
revertitur et ad familiares feminarum artes accen- 
ditur, magnaque cura requisitam veteratricem quan- 
dam feminam, quae devotionibus ac maleficiis quid- 
vis efficere posse credebatur, multis exorat precibus 
multisque sutfarcinat muneribuSj alterum de duobus 
postulans, vel rursum mitigato conciliari marito, vel 
si id nequiveritj certe larva vel aliquo diro numine 
immisso violenter eius expugnari spiritum. Tune 

1 Adlington's note to the passage is worthy of transcription : 
" In like soi't do many nowadays go to wise women which, are 

led the young man to his chamber, and closed 
his wife in another chamber, whereby he might 
revenge his enemy at his pleasure. On the next 
morrow when the sun's rays did first usher in 
the day, he called two of the most sturdiest ser- 
vants of his house, who hoist up the young man 
while he scourged his buttocks well-favouredly with 
rods like a child. When he had well beaten him he 
said : " Art thou not ashamed, thoti that art so 
tender and delicate a boy, to refuse the lovers of 
thine own budding age, and to desire the violation 
of honest marriages, and defame thyself with wicked 
living, whereby thou hast gotten the name of an adul- 
terer ? " And so he whipped him again and chased 
him out of his house : the young man, the bravest ot 
all adulterers, ran away, despairing of his life, and did 
nothing else, save only bewail his striped and aching 
buttocks. Soon after the baker sent one to his wife 
who divorced her away in his name : but she, beside 
her own natural mischief (offended at this contumely, 
though she had worthily deserved the same) had 
recourse to wicked arts and trumpery 1 that women 
use, never ceasing till she had found out an en- 
chantress, who (as it was thought) could do what she 
would with her sorcery and conjuration. The baker's 
wife began to entreat her, promising that she would 
largely recompense her, if she could bring one of 
these two things to pass, either to make that her 
husband might be reconciled to her again, or else, if 
he would not agree thereto, to send some ghost or 
devil into him to dispossess the spirit of her husband. 

witches, when they have lost silver spoons, or have their 
cattle hurt to seek remedy, but to seek redress by such means 
is luck of faith, when they forsake God and run for help to tin- 
devil, with whom, as S. Augustine sayeth, they shall be 



Saga ilia et divini potens primis adhuc armis faci- 
norosae disciplinae suae velitatur et vehementer 
offensum mariti flectere atque in amorem impellere 
conatur animum. Quae res cum ei sequius ac rata 
fuerat proveniret, indignata numinibus, et praeter 
praemii destinatum compendium contemptione etiam 
stimulata, ipsi iam miserrimi mariti incipit imminere 
capiti, umbramque violenter peremptae mulieris ad 
exitium eius instigare. 

30 Sed forsitan lector scrupulosus reprehendens nar- 
ratum meum sic argumentaberis : " Unde autem tu, 
astutule asine, intra terminos pistrini contectus, 
quid secreto, ut affirmas, mulieres gesserint scire 
potuisti ? " Accipe igitur quemadmodum homo 
curiosus iumenti faciem sustinens cuncta quae 
in perniciem pistoris mei gesta sunt cognovi. 
Diem ferme circa mediam repente intra pistrinum 
mulier reatu miraque tristitie deform is apparuit, 
flebili centunculo semiamicta, nudis et intectis 
pedibus, lurore buxeo macieque foedata., et dis- 
cerptae comae semicanae sordentes inspersu cineris 
pleramque eius anteventulae contegebant faciem. 
Haec talis manu pistori clementer iniecta, quasi 
quippiam secreto collocutura in suum sibi cubiculum 
deducit eum et adducta fore quam diutissime de- 
moratur. Sed cum esset iam confectum omne fru- 
mentum, quod inter manus opifices tractaverant, 
nedessarioque peti deberet aliud, servuli cubiculum 
propter sidstantes dominum vocabant operique 
supplementum postulabant : atque ut illis saepicule 


Then the witch with her abominable science began 
at first to conjure with the lighter arts of her wicked 
practice, and to make her ceremonies to turn the 
offended heart of the baker to the love of his wife : 
but all was in vain ; wherefore angry with her gods, 
and considering on the one side that she could not 
bring her purpose to pass, and on the other side the 
loss of her gain and the little account that was made 
of her science, she began to aim against the life of 
the baker, threatening to send an ill spirit of a certain 
woman that had died violently to kill him by mean 
of her conjurations. 

But peradventure some scrupulous reader may 
demand me a question, how I, being an ass, and tied 
always within the walls of the mill-house, could be 
so clever as to know the secrets of these women : 
learn then, I answer, notwithstanding my shape of 
an ass, yet having the sense and knowledge of a 
man, how I did curiously find out and know out such 
injuries as were done to my master. About noon 
there came suddenly a woman into the mill-house, 
very sorrowful, clothed in wretched rags, and in 
gloomy garb like those that are accused of a crime, 
half naked and with bare and unshod feet, meagre, 
exceeding pale and thin, ill-favoured, and her hair, 
which was growing towards white, mixed with cinders 
and scattering upon her face. This woman gently 
took the baker by the hand, and feigning that she 
had some secret matter to tell him, led him into his 
chamber, where they remained a good space with 
closed doors. But when all the corn was ground 
that was ready to hand, and the servants were com- 
pelled to call their master to give them more, they 
called very often at his chamber door, and asked that 
they might have further matter for their labour. 



et intervocaliter clamantibus nullus respondit 
dominus, iam forem pulsare validius et, quod dili- 
gentissime fuerat oppessulata, maius peiusque aliquid 
opinantes, nisu valido reducto vel diffracto cardine 
tandem patefaciunt aditum. Nee uspiam reperta 
ilia muliere vident e quodam tigillo constrictum iam- 
que exanimem pendere dominum ; eumque nodo 
cervicis absolutum detractumque summis plangoribus 
summisque lamentationibus atque ultimo lavacro 
procurant, peractisque feralibus officiis frequenti pro- 

31 sequente comitatu tradunt se{)iilturae. Die sequenti 
filia eitis accurrit e proxumo castello, in quod pridem 
denupserat, maesta atque crines pendulos quatiens et 
interdum pugnis obtundens ubera ; quae nullo quidem 
domus infortunium nuntiante cuncta cognorat, sed ei 
per quietem obtulit sese flebilis patris sui facies, 
adhuc nodo revincta cervice, eique totum novercae 
scelus aperuit, de adulterio, de maleficio, et quemad- 
modum larvatus ad inferos demeasset. Ea cum se 
diutino plangore cruciasset, concursu familiarium 
cohibita tandem pausam luctui fecit : iamque nono 
die rite completis apud tumulum sollemnibus 
familiam supellectilemque et omnia iumenta ad 
hereditariam deducit auctionem : tune unum Larem 
varie dispergit venditionis incertae licentiosa fortuna. 

Me denique ipsum pauperculus quidam hortulanus 
comparat quinquaginta nummis, magno, ut aiel>at, 

32 sed ut communi labore victuin sibi quaereret. Res 
ipsa mihi poseere videtur ut huius quoque servitiimei 

But when no person gave answer to their often and 
loud crying, they knocked louder to none effect: 
then they began to mistrust, in so much that with 
great pushing they brake open the door, which was 
very closely barred ; but when they were come in, 
they could not find the woman, but only their master 
hanging dead upon a rafter of the chamber. There- 
upon they cried and lamented greatly, and took his 
body from the noose ; and according to the custom, 
when they had mourned him much and washed the 
body, they performed all the funeral rites and buried 
him, much people attending. The next morrow the 
daughter of the baker, which was married but a little 
before to one of the next village, came crying with 
hair awry and beating her breast : not because she 
heard of the sad fortune of her house by the message 
of any man, but because her father's lamentable 
spirit, with a halter about his neck, appeared to her 
in the night, declaring the whole circumstance of 
the matter ; of the wickedness of her stepmother and 
her whoredom, of the witchcraft and how by en- 
chantment he was descended to hell. After that she 
had lamented a good space, and was then somewhat 
comforted by the servants of the house and had 
ceased therefrom, and when nine days were expired; 
and all was duly done at the tomb, as inheritress to 
her father she sold away all the substance of the 
house, both slaves and furniture and beasts, whereby 
the goods of one household chanced by the operation 
of fortune into divers men's hands. 

There was a poor gardener amongst the rest, which 
bought me for the sum of fifty pence, which seemed 
to him a great price, but he thought to gain it again 
by the common travail of himself and me. The 
matter requireth to tell likewise, how I was handled 
2 F 449 


disciplinam exponam. Matutino me multis holeribus 
onustum proxumam civitatem deducere consuerat 
dominus atque ibi venditoribus tradita merce dorsum 
insidens raeum sic hortum redire. Ac dum fodiens, 
dum irrigans ceteroque incurvus labore deservit, ego 
tantisper otiosus placida quiete recreabar. Sed ecce 
siderum ordinatis ambagibus per numeros dierum ac 
mensuum remeans annus, post raustulentas autumni 
delicias ad hibernas Capricorn! pruinas deflexerat et 
assiduis pluviis nocturnisque rorationibus sub dio et 
intecto conclusus stabulo continue discruciabar frigore, 
quippe cum meus dominus prae nimia paupertate ne 
sibi quidem, nedum mihi posset stramen aliquod vel 
exiguum tegimen parare, sed frondoso casulae con- 
tentus umbraculo degeret. Ad hoc matutino lutum 
nimis frigidum gelusque praeacuta frusta nudis 
invadens pedibus enitebar, ac ne suetis saltern cibariis 
ventrem meum replere poteram ; namque et mihi et 
ipsi domino cena par ac similis, oppido tamen tenuis 
aderat, lactucae veteres et insuaves illae, quae seminis 
enormi senecta ad instar scoparum in amaram caenosi 
succus cariem exolescunt. 

33 Nocte quadam paterfamilias quidam de pago 
proxumo tenebris inluniae caliginis impeditus et 
imbre nimio madefactus, atque ob id ab itinere 
directo cohibitus, ad hortulum nostrum iam fesso 
equo deverterat receptusque comiter pro tempore, 
licet non delicato, necessario tamen quietis subsidio, 
remunerari beniguum hospitem cupiens promittit ei 
de praediis suis sese daturum et frumenti et olivi 


in his service. This gardener accustomed to drive 
me every morning laden with herbs to the next 
village, and there, when he had sold his herbs, he 
would mount upon my back and return to the garden. 
Now while he digged the ground, and watered the 
herbs, and bent himself to his other business, I did 
nothing but repose myself with great ease : but when 
the signs of heaven were turned in their ordained 
courses, and the year in due order passed by day 
and by months from the pleasant delights of the 
autumn unto Capricorn, with sharp hail, rain, and 
wintry frosts, I had no stable, but standing always 
under a hedgeside, beneath the unceasing rain and 
the dews of night, was well nigh killed with cold ; 
for my master was so poor that he had no lodging 
for himself, much less he had any litter or place to 
cover me withal ; but he himself always lay under a 
little roof, shadowed and covered with boughs. In 
the morning when I walked, I had no shoes to my 
hoofs to pass upon the sharp ice and frosty mire, 
neither could I fill my belly with meat as I accus- 
tomed to do ; for my master and I supped together 
and had both one fare, and it was very slender, since 
we had nothing else saving old and unsavoury salads, 
which were suffered to grow for seed, like long 
brooms, and all their sweet sap and juice had become 
bitter and stinking. 

It fortuned on a day that an honest man of the 
nextvillage was benighted, and constrained, by reason 
of the rain and that it was dark without moon, to 
lodge (his horse being very weary) in our garden ; 
where although he was but meanly received, yet served 
well enough considering time and necessity. This 
honest man, to recompense our kindly entertainment, 
promised to give my master some corn, oil, and two 



aliquid et amplius duos vini cados. Nee moratus 
nxeus sacculo et utribus vacuis secum apportatis 
nudae spinae meae residens ad sexagesimum stadium 
profectionem comparat. Eo iam confecto viae spatio 
pervenimus ad praedictos agros, ibique statim meum 
dominum comis hospes opipari prandio participat. 
lamque iis poculis mutuis altercantibus mirabile 
prorsus evenit ostentum. Una de cetera cohorte 
gallina per mediam cursitans aream clangore genuino 
velut ovum parere gestiens personabat. Earn suus 
dominus intuens " O bona " inquit " Ancilla et satis 
fecunda quae multo iam tempore cotidianis nos partu- 
bus saginasti ! Nunc etiam cogitas, ut video, gustu- 
lum iiobis praeparare." Et " Heus " inquit " Puer, 
calathum fetui gallinaceo destinatum angulo solitff 
collocato." Ita uti fuerat iussum procurante puero, 
gallina consuetae lecticulae spreto cubili ante ipsos 
pedes domini praematurum sed magno prorsus 
futurum scrupulo prodidit partum : non enim ovum, 
quod scimus illud, sed pinnis et unguibus et oculis et 
voce etiam perfectum edidit pullum, qui matrem 
34. suam coepit continue comitari. Nee eo setius longe 
mains ostentum, et quod omnes merito perhor- 
rescerent, exoritur : sub ipsa enim mensa, quae reli- 
quias prandii gerebat, terra dehiscens imitus largis- 
simum emicuit sanguinis fontem x ; hinc resultantes 
uberrimae guttae mensam cruore perspergunt. 
Ipsoque illo momento, quo stupore defixi mirantur 
ac trepidant divina praesagia, concurrit unus e cella 
vinaria mmtians omne vinum, quod olim diffusum 
fuerat, in omnibus doliis ferventi calore et prorsus 
ut igne copioso subdito rebullire. Visae interea 

1 MSS/ons. But an accusative is necessary, as Petschenig 
saw, unless we read dehiscente and largissimus, taking terra as 
an ablative. 



bottles of wine : therefore my master, not delaying the 
matter, laded me with a sack and empty bottles, and 
sat upon my bare back and rode to the town, which 
was seven miles off. When we came to the hours! 
man's farm, he entertained and feasted my master 
exceedingly; and it fortuned while they ate and 
drank together in great amity, there chanced a 
strange and dreadful case; for there was a hen 
which ran cackling about the yard, even as though 
she would have laid an egg ; the good man of the 
house, perceiving her, said : " O good and profitable 
pullet, that now for so long hast fed us every day 
with thy fruit, thou seemest as though thou wouldst 
give us some pittance for uur dinner. Oh, boy, put 
the pannier in the accustomed comer that the hen 
may lay." Then the boy did as his master com- 
manded, but the hen, forsaking her accustomed 
litter, came towards her master, and laid at his feet 
an offspring too early indeed, and one that should 
betoken great ill to come ; for it was not an egg 
which every man knoweth, but a chicken, with 
feathers, claws, and eyes, nay even with a voice, 
which incontinently ran peeping after his dame. 
By and by happened a more strange thing which 
would cause any man to abhor ; for under the very 
table whereon was the rest of their meat, the ground 
opened, and there appeared a great well and fountain 
of blood, in so much that the drops thereof sprinkled 
about the table. At the same time, while they 
wondered at this dreadful sight, and feared that 
which the gods should presage thereby, one of the 
servants came running out of the cellar, and told 
that all the wine, which had long before been racked 
oft', was boiled out of the vessels, as though there 
had been some great fire under. By and by without 



mustelae etiam mortuum serpentem forinsecus mor- 
dicus attrahentes, et cle ore pastoricii canis virens 
exsiluit ranula, ipsumque canem qui proximus consis- 
tebat aries appetitum unico morsu strangulavit. Haec 
tot ac talia ingenti pavore domini illius et familiae 
totius ad extremum stuporem deiecerant animos, 
quid prius quidve posterius, quid magis quid minus, 
numinum caelestium leniendis minis quot et qualibus 
'55 procuraretur hostiis. Adhuc omnibus expectatione 
taeterrimae formidinis torpidis accurrit quidam 
servulus magnas et postremas domino illi fundorum 
clades annuntians. Namque is adultis iam tribus 
liberis doctrina instructis et verecundia praeditis 
vivebat gloriosus. His adtilescentibus erat cum 
quodam paupere modicae casulae domino vetus 
familiaritas : at enim casulae parvulae conterminos 
magnos et beatos agros possidebat victims potens et 
dives et iuvenis, sed prosapiae maiorum gloria male 
utens pollensque factionibus et cuncta facile faciens 
in civitate : hie hostili modo vicini tennis incursabat 
pauperiem pecua trucidando, boves abigendo, fruges 
adhuc immaturas obterendo. lamque tota frugalitate 
spoliatum ipsis etiam glebulis exterminare gestiebat 
finiumque inani commota quaestione terram totam 
sibi vindicabat. Tune agrestis, verecundus alioquin, 
avaritia divitis iam spoliatus, ut suo saltern sepulchre 
paternum retiueret solum, amicos plurimos ad de- 

the house weasels were seen that drew with their 
teeth a dead serpent ; and out of the mouth of a 
shepherd's dog leaped a green frog, and immediately 
after a ram that stood hard by leaped upon the same 
dog and strangled him with one bite. All these 
things that happened horribly astonished the good 
man of the house and the residue that were present, 
in so much they could not tell how they stood 01 
what to do, which first and which last, which more 
and which less, or with what or how many sacrifices 
to appease the anger of the gods. 

While every man was thus stricken in fear of some 
hideous thing that should come to pass, behold one 
brought word to the good man of the house of a 
great and terrible mishap. For he had three sons 
who had been brought up in good literature and 
endued with good manners, in whom he greatly 
gloried. Now they three had great acquaintance 
and ancient amity with a poor man, which was their 
neighbour and dwelled hard by them in a little 
cottage. And next unto that little cottage dwelled 
another young man very rich both in lands and goods, 
but using ill the pride of his high descent, very 
factious, and ruling himself in the town according to 
his own will. This young royster did mortally hate 
this poor man, in so much that he would kill his 
sheep, steal his oxen, and spoil his corn and other 
fruits before the time of ripeness ; yet was he not 
contented with this spoiling of his thrift, but he 
burned to encroach upon the poor man's ground and 
by some empty quarrel of boundaries claimed all his 
heritage as his own. The poor man, which was very 
simple and fearful, seeing all his goods taken away 
by the avarice of the rich man, called together and 
assembled many of his friends to shew them in much 



monsti ationem finium trepidans eximie corrogarat : 
aderant inter alios ires illi fratres cladibus amici 
36 quantulum quantulum ferentes auxilium. Nee ta- 
men ille vesanus tantillum praesentia multorum 
civium territus vel etiam confusus, licet non rapinis, 
saltem verbis temperare voluit sed, illis clementer 
expostulantibus fervidosque eius mores blanditiis per- 
mulcentibus, repente stiam suorumque carorum salu- 
tem quam sanctissime adiurans asseverat parvi se 
pendere tot mediatorum praesentiam ; denique vici- 
num ilium auriculis per suos servulos sublatum de 
casula longissime statimque proiectum iri : quo dicto 
insignis indignatio totos audientium pertemptavit ani- 
mos. Tune unus e tribus fratribus incunctanter et 
paulo liberius respondit, frustra eum suis opibus con- 
fisum tyrannica superbia comminari, cum alioquin 
pauperes etiam liberali legum praesidio de insolentia 
locupletium consueverint vindicari. 

Quod oleum flammae, quod sulphur incendio, quod 
flagellum Furiae, hoc et iste sermo truculentiae homi- 
nis nutrimento fuit. lamque ad extremam insaniam 
vecors suspendium sese et totis illis et ipsis legibus 
mandare proclamans, canes pastoricios villaticos, feros 
atque immanes, assuetos abiecta per agros essitare 
cadavera, praeterea etiam transeuntium viatorum 
passivis l morsibus alumnatos, laxari atque in eorum 
exitiuminhortatosimmittipraecipit. Qui sinuil signo 

1 Colvius 7 ingenious emendation for the MSS' passibus. 

fear the metes and bounds of his land, to the end he 
might at least have so much ground of his father's 
heritage as might bury him. Amongst whom he 
found these three brethren as friends to help and 
aid him as far as they might in his adversity and 
tribulation. Howbeit the presence of all these honest 
citizens could in no wise persuade or frighten this 
madman to leave his power and extortion, and 
though at the first he did shew temperance in 
his tongue, yet of a sudden, the more they went 
about with gentle words to tell him his faults, 
the more would he fret and fume, swearing all the 
oaths under God, and pledging his own life and 
his dearest, that he little regarded the presence of 
the whole city, and incontinently he would command 
his servants to take the poor man by the ears, and 
carry him out of his cottage and thrust him afar off. 
This greatly offended all the standers-by ; and then 
forthwith one of the brethren spake unto him some- 
what boldly, saying: "It is but a folly to have such 
affiance in your riches, and to use your tyrannous 
pride to threaten, when as the law is common for the 
poor alike, and a redress may be had by it to suppress 
the insolence of the rich." 

These words made his harsh temper to burn more 
than oil on flames, or brimstone in a fire, or a Fury's 
scourge of whips, and he became furious to madness, 
saying that they should be all hanged and their laws 
too, before he would be subject to any person : and 
therewithal he called out his bandogs and great 
mastiffs that followed the sheep on his farm, which 
accustomed to eat the carrion and carcasses of dead 
beasts in the fields, and had been trained to set upon 
such as passed by the way. These he commanded 
should be put upon all the assistants to tear them in 



solito pastorum incensi atque inflammati sunt, furiosa 
rabie conciti et latratibus etiam absents horribiles, 
eunt in homines eosque variis aggressi vulneribus 
distrahunt ac lacerant, nee fugientibus saltern com- 
37 pescunt sed eo magis irritatiores sequuntur. Tune 
inter confertam trepidae multitudinis stragem e tri- 
bus iunior offenso lapide atque obtunsis digitis terrae 
prosternitur, saevisque illis ac ferocissimis canibus in- 
struit nefariam dapem : protenus enim nancti prae- 
dam iacentem miserum ilium adulescentem frustatim 
discerpunt. Atque ut eius letalem ululatum cogno- 
vere ceteri fratres, accurrunt maesti suppetias, ob- 
volutisque lacinia laevis manibus lapidum crebris 
iactibus propugnare fratri atque abigere canes ag- 
grediuntur. Nee tamen eorum ferociam vel conterrere 
vel expugnare potuere, quippe cum miserrimus adule- 
scens ultima voce prolata, vindicarent de pollutissimo 
divite mortem fratris iunioris, illico laniatus interisset. 
Tune reliqui fratres non tarn Hercule desperata quam 
ultro neglecta sua salute contendunt ad divitem atque 
ardentibus animis impetuque vesano lapidibus cre- 
bvis in eum velitantur. At ille cruentus et multis ante 
flagitiis similibus exercitatus percussor iniecta lancea 
duorum alterum per pectus medium transadegit : 
nee tamen peremptus ac prorsum exanimatus adule- 
scens ille terrae concidit ; nam telum transvectum 
atque ex maxima parte pone tergum elapsum soloque 
nisus violentia defixum rigore librato suspenderat 
corpus. Sed et quidam de servulis procerus et 

pieces ; and as soon as they heard the accustomed 
hiss of their masters the shepherds, ran fiercely upon 
them, roused to madness, and barking very horridly, 
invading them on every side, wounding and tearing 
them, and not sparing even them that sought to fly, 
in so much that the more they fled to escape away, 
the more cruel and terrible were the dogs. It for- 
tuned amongst all this fearful company, that in run- 
ning the youngest of the three brethren stumbled at 
a stone, and bruising his toes fell down to the ground 
to be a prey to these wild and furious dogs, and they 
came upon him and tare him in pieces with their 
teeth, whereby he cried out bitterly : his other two 
brethren, hearing his lamentable voice, ran towards 
him to help him, casting their cloaks about their left 
arms, and took up stones to defend their brother and 
chase away the dogs. But all was in vain, for they 
could not make to cease nor drive away the fierce 
beasts, but they must see their brother dismem- 
bered in every part of his body ; who, lying at the 
very point of death, desired his brethren to revenge 
his death against the cruel tyrant, and therewithal 
he gave up the ghost. The other two brethren, 
perceiving so great a murder, did not only de- 
spair of their only safety, but neglected their own 
lives and madly dressed themselves against the 
tyrant, and threw a great number of stones at 
him ; but the bloody thief, exercised to such and 
like mischiefs, took a spear and thrust one of them 
clean through the body. Howbeit, although utterly 
destroyed, he fell not down to the ground : for the 
spear that came out at his back ran into the earth 
with the force of the thrust and sustained him up 
quivering in the air. By and by came one of this 
tyrant's servants, the most sturdiest of the rest, to 



validus sicario illi ferens auxilium lapide contorto 
tertii illius iuvenis dexterum brachium longo iactu 
petierat, sed impetu casso per extremes digitos trans- 
currens lapis contra omnium opinionem deciderat 
38 innoxius. Nonnullam tamen sagacissimo iuveni pro- 
ventus humanior vindictae speculam subministravit : 
ficta namque manus suae debilitate sic crudelissimum 
iuvenem compellat : " Fruere exitio totius nostrae 
familiae et sanguine trium fratrum insatiabilem tuam 
crudelitatem pasce, et de prostratis tuis civibus 
gloriose triumpha, dum scias, licet private suis pos- 
sessionibus paupere fines usque et usque protermina- 
veris, habiturum te tamen vicinum aliquem. Nam 
haec etiam dextera, quae tuum prorsus amputasset 
caput, iniquitate fati contusa decidit." Quo sermone, 
alioquin exasperatus, furiosus latro rapto gladio sua 
miserrimum iuvenem manu perempturus invadit 
avidus. Nee tamen sui molliorem provocarat, quippe 
insperato et longe contra eius opinionem resistens 
iuvenis complexu fortissimo arripit eius dexteram, 
magnoque nisu ferro librato multis et crebris ictibus 
impuram elidit divitis animam, et ut accurrentium 
etiam familiarium manu se liberaret, confestim adhuc 
inimici sanguine delibuto mucrone gulam sibi prorsus 
exsecuit. Haec erant quae prodigiosa praesaga- 
verant ostenta, haec quae miserrimo domino fuerant 
nuntiata. Nee ullum verbum ac ne taciturn quidem 

help his master ; and at his first coming, he took up a 
stone and threw it from afar at the third brother, and 
struck his left arm, but by reason the stone ran i>\- 
the ends of his fingers it fell to the ground and did 
not hurt him, which chanced otherwise than all 
men's expectation was. Then did this fortunate 
chance give the young man, that was very wise, a 
hope for vengeance ; for he feigned that his arm was 
greatly wounded, and spake these words unto the 
cruel bloodsucker : " Now mayst thou, thou wretch, 
triumph upon the destruction of all our family ; now 
mayst thou feed thy insatiable cruelty with the blood 
of three brethren ; now mayst thou rejoice at the fall 
of thy fellow-citizens : yet think not but that how far 
soever thou dost remove and extend the bounds of thy 
land by depriving of poor men, thou shalt still have 
some neighbour : but how greatly am I sorry in that by 
the injustice of fate I have lost mine arm wherewithal 
I minded to cut off thy head." When he had spoken 
these words, the furious thief was the more enraged 
and drew out his dagger, and running upon the young 
man thought verily to have slain him : but it chanced 
that he had attacked one no whit weaker than he, 
for the young man resisted him stoutly beyond all 
his expectation, and buckling together by violence 
seized his right hand : which done, he poised the 
weapon, and oft striking made the rich thief to 
give up his guilty ghost, and to the intent the young 
man would escape the hands of the servants, which 
came running to assist their master, with the same 
dagger that dripped with his enemy's blood he cut 
his own throat. These things were signified by the 
strange and dreadful wonders which fortuned in the 
house of the wretched man, who, after he had heard 
these sorrowful tidings, could in nowise even siK nth 



fletum tot malis circumventus senex quivit emittere, 
sed arrepto ferro, quo commodum inter suos epulones 
caseurn atque alias prandii partes diviserat, ipse quo- 
que ad instar infelicissimi sui filii iugulum sibi multis 
ictibus contrucidat, quoad super mensam cernulus 
corruens portentuosi cruoris maculas novi sanguinis 
fluvio proluit. 

39 Ad istum modum puncto brevissimo dilapsae 
domus fortunam hortulanus ille miseratus suosque 
casus graviter ingemescens, deprensis pro prandio 
lacrimis vacuasque manus complodens saepicule, pro- 
tinus inscenso me retro, quam veneramus, viam capes- 
sit. Nee innoxius ei saltern regressus evenit : nam 
quidam procerus et, ut indicabat habitus atque habi- 
tudo, miles e legione, factus nobis obvius, superbo 
atque arroganti sermone percontatur quorsum vacuum 
duceret asinum : at meus adhuc maerore permixtus 
et alias Latini sermonis ignarus, tacitus praeteribat. 
Nee miles ille familiarem cohibere quivit insolentiam 
sed indignatus silentio eius ut convicio, viti quam 
tenebat obtundens eum dorso meo proturbat. Tune 
hortulanus supplicue respondit sermonis ignorantia 
se quid ille diceret scire non posse : ergo igitur 
Graece subiciens miles " Ubi " inquit "Ducis 
asinum istum ? " Respondit hortulanus petere se 
civitatem proxumam. " Sed mihi " inquit " Operae 
eius opus est ; nam de proxumo castello sarcinas 
praesidis nostri cum ceteris iumentis debet adve- 
here," et iniecta statim manu loro me, quo duce- 

weep, so far was he stricken into dolour, but pre- 
sently taking the knife -wherewith he had but now 
divided the cheese and other meat for his guests, he 
cut his own throat with many blows like his most 
unhappy son, in such sort that he fell head foremost 
upon the board and washed away with the streams 
of his blood in most miserable manner those pro- 
digious drops which had before fallen thereon. 

Hereby was my master the gardener deprived of 
his hope, and pitying very greatly the evil fortune of 
the house, which in a brief moment of time had thus 
fallen in ruins, and getting instead of his dinner the 
watery tears of his eyes, and clapping oft-times 
together his empty hands, mounted upon my back, 
and so we went homeward the same way as we came. 
Yet was our return not free from harm : for as we 
passed by the way we met with a tall soldier (for so 
his habit and countenance declared) which was a 
legionary, who with proud and arrogant words spake 
to my master in this sort : " Whither lead you this 
ass unladen ? " My master, still somewhat astonished 
and fearful at the strange sights which he saw 
before, and ignorant of the Latin tongue, rode on 
and spak*e never a word. The soldier, unable to 
refrain his proper insolence and offended at his 
silence as it were an insult, struck him with a vine- 
stick which he held on the shoulders, and thrust 
him from my back. Then my master gently made 
answer that he knew not his tongue and so under- 
stood not what he said ; whereat the soldier angrily 
demanded again, but in Greek, whither he rode with 
his ass: "Marry," quoth he, "To the next city." 
" But I," quoth the soldier, ' Have need of his help, 
to carry the trusses of our captain with the other 
beasts from yonder castle"; and therewithal he 



bar, arreptum incipit trahere. Sed hortulanus prioris 
plagae vulnere prolapsum capite sanguinem deter- 
gens rursus deprecatur civilius atque mansuetius 
versari commilitonem, idque per spes prosperas eius 
orabat adiurans. " Nam et hie ipse " aiebat " Iners 
asellus et nihilo minus morbo detestabili caducus 
vix etiam paucos holerum manipulos de proxumo 
hortulo solet anhelitu languido fatigatus subvehere. 
nedum ut rebus amplioribus idoneus videatur gerulus." 
40 Sed ubi nullis precibus mitigari militem magisque in 
suam perniciem advertit efferari, iamque inversa vite 
de vastiore nodulo cerebrum suum diffindere, currit 
ad extrema subsidia, simulansque e re ad commo- 
vendam miserationem genua eius velle contingere, 
summissus atque incurvatus, arreptis eius utrisque 
pedibus sublimem elatum terrae graviter applodit, et 
statim qua pugnis, qua cubitis, qua morsibus, etiam de 
via lapide correpto totam faciem manusque eius et 
latera converberat. Nee ille ut primum humi supina- 
tus est, vel repugnare vel omnino munire se potuit 
sed plane' identidem comminabatur, si surrexisset, 
sese concisurum eum machaera sua frustatim. Quo 
sermone eius commonefactus hortulanus eripit ei 
spatham eaque longissime abiecta rursum saevioribus 
eum plagis aggreditur: nee ille prostratus et prae- 
ventus vulneribus ullum repperire saluti quiens sub- 
sidium, quod solum restabat, simulat sese mortuum. 
Tune spatham illam secum asportans hortulanus 
inscenso me concito gradu recta festinat ad civitatem, 
nee hortulum suum saltern curans invisere, ad quem- 
piam sibi devertit familiarem, cunctisque narratis 
deprecatur periclitanti sibi ferret auxilium seque cum 

took me by the halter, and would violently have 
taken me away : but my master, wiping away from 
his head the blood of the blow which he received of 
the soldier, desired him gently and civilly to take 
some pity upon him, and to let' him depart with his 
own, conjuring him by all that he hoped of good 
fortune, and affirming that his slow ass, well nigh 
dead with sickness, could scarce carry a few handfuls 
of herbs from his garden hard by, being very scant of 
breath ; much less he was able to bear any greater 
trusses. But when he saw the soldier would in no 
wise be entreated, but was the more bent on his 
destruction, and ready with his staff to cleave my 
master's head with its thicker part, being desperate 
he fell down grovelling at his feet, under colour to 
touch his knees and move him to some pity; but 
when he saw his time, he took the soldier by the 
legs and cast him upon the ground : then straight- 
way he buffeted him, thumped him, bit him, and took 
a stone and beat his face and his sides, so that he, 
being first laid along the ground, could not turn or 
defend himself, but only threaten that if ever he 
rose he would chop him in pieces. The gardener, 
when he heard him say so, was advised and drew 
out his sword which he had by his side, and when he 
had thrown it far away, he knocked and beat him 
more cruelly than he did before, in so much that thr 
soldier as he lay all hurt with wounds could not tell 
by what means to save himself, but only by feigning 
he was dead. Then my master took the sword and 
mounted upon my back, riding straight in all haste 
to the next village ; but he had no regard to go to 
his garden, and when he came thither, he turned 
into one of his friends' house and declared all the 
whole matter, desiring him to save his life, and to 
2c 465 


suo sibi asino tantisper occultaret, quoad celatus 
spatio bidui triduive capitalem causam evaderet. 
Nee oblitus ille veteris amicitiae prompte suscipit, 
meque per scalas complicitis pedibus in superius 
cenaculum attracto, hortulanus deorsus in ipsa taber- 
nacula derepit in quandam cistulam et superingesto 
delitescit orificio. 

41 At miles ille, ut postea didici, tandem velut 
emersus gravi crapula, nutabundus tamen et tot 
plagarum dolore saucius baculoque se vix sustinens 
civitatem adventat, confususque de impotentia deque 
inertia suaquicquam ad quemquam referre popularium, 
sed tacitus iniuriam devorans, quosdam commilitones 
nanctus, is tantum clades enarrat suas. Placuit ut 
ipse quidem contubernio se tantisper absconderet 
(nam praeter propriam contumeliam militaris etiam 
sacramenti genium ob amissam spatham verebatur), 
ipsi autem signis nostris enotatis investigationi 
vindictaeque sedulam darent operam : nee defuit 
vicinus perfidus qui nos illico occultari nuntiaret. 
Turn commilitoaes accersitis magistratibus menti- 
untur sese multi pretii vasculum argenteum prae- 
sidis in via perdidisse, idque hortulanum quendam 
repperisse nee velle restituere, sed apud familiarem 
quendam sibi delitescere. Tune magistratus et danmo 

hide himself and his ass awhile in some secret place, 
that he might be hid for the space of two or three 
days, until such time as all danger were past. Then 
his friend, not forgetting the ancient amity between 
them, entertained him willingly, and tying my legs 
drew me up a. pair of stairs into a chamber, while 
my master, remaining in the shop, crept into a 
chest and lay hidden there with the cover closed 

The soldier (as 1 afterwards learned) rose up at 
last as one awakened from a drunken sleep, but he 
could scarce go by reason of his wounds, howbeit, 
at length, by little and little, through aid of his staff, 
he came to the town ; but he would not declare the 
matter to any person, nor complain to any justice, 
but inwardly digested his injury, lest he should be 
accused of cowardice or dastardness. Yet in the end 
he told some of his companions of all the matter that 
happened ; but they advised him that he should 
remain for awhile closed in some secret place, think- 
ing that beside the injury which he had received, 
he should be accused of the breach of his faith and 
soldier's oath, by reason of the loss of his sword, 1 
and that they should diligently learn the signs and 
appearance of my master and me to search him out 
and take vengeance upon him. At last, there was an 
unfaithful neighbour that told them where we were : 
then incontinently the soldiers went to the justice, 
declaring that they had lost by the way a silver goblet 
of their captain's, very precious, and that a gardener 
had found it, who, refusing to render up the goblet, 
was hidden in one of his friends' house. By and by 
the magistrate, understanding the loss of the captain, 
1 A soldier's loss of his sword was considered equal to 
desertion, and punished with equal severity. 



et praesidis nomine cognito veniunt ad deversorii 
nostri fores clavaque voce denuntiant hospiti iiostro 
noSj quos occultaret aj)ud se certo certius, dedere 
potius quam discrimen proprii subiret capitis. Nee 
ille tantillum conterritus salutique studens eius quem 
in suam receperat fidem, quicquam de nobis fa- 
tetur ac diebus plusculis nee vidisse quidem ilium 
hortulanum contendit : contra commilitones ibi nee 
uspiam ilium delitescere adiurantes genium principis 
contendebant. Postremum magistratibus placuit 
obstinate denegantem scrutinio detegere ; immissis 
itaque lictoribus ceterisque publicis ministeriis angu- 
latim cuncta sedulo perlustrari iubent : nee quisquam 
mortalium ac ne ipse quidem asinus intra limen com- 
42 parere nuntiatur. Tune gliscit violentior utrimque- 
secus contentio : militum pro comperto de nobis as- 
severantium fidemque Caesaris identidem imploran- 
tium, at illius negantis assidueque deum numen 
obtestantis. Qua contentione et clamoso strepitu 
cognito, curiosus alioquin et inquieti procacitate 
praeditus asinus, dum obliquata cervice per quandam 
fenestrulam quidnam sibi vellet tumultus ille pro- 
spicere gestio, unus e commilitonibus casu fortuito 
collimatis oculis ad umbram meam cunctos testatur 
incoram. Magnus denique continue clamor exortus 
est, et emensis protenus scalis iniecta manu quidam 
me velut captivum detrahunt. lamque^omni sublata 
cunctatione scrupulosius contemplantes singula, cista 
etiam ilia revelata repertum productumque et oblatum 
magistratibus miserum hortulanum, poenas scilicet 



and who he was, came to the doors where we were, 
and in a loud voice exhorted our host that it were 
better to deliver up my master than to incur pain 
of death ; for most certainly he was hiding us. 
Howbeit, these threatenings could not enforce him 
to confess that he was within his doors, and he was 
nothing afraid, but by reason of his faithful promise, 
and for the safeguard of his friend, he said that he 
knew naught of us, nor saw he the gardener a great 
while. The soldiers said contrary, swearing by the 
deity 01 the Emperor that he lay there, and nowhere 
else. Whereby, to know the verity of the matter, 
the magistrates commanded their Serjeants and 
ministers to search every corner of the house ; but 
there they could find nobody, neither gardener nor 
ass. Then was there a great contention between 
the soldiers and our host, for they said we were 
within the house, calling often upon Caesar in their 
oaths ; and he said no, and swore much and often by 
all the gods to the same intent. But I, that was an 
ass very curious and restless in my nature, when I 
heard so great a noise craned my neck and put my 
head out of a little window to learn what the stir 
and tumult did signify. It fortuned that one of the 
soldiers, spying about, perceived my shadow, where- 
upon he began to cry, saying that he had certainly 
seen me : then they were all glad and a great 
shouting arose, and they brought a ladder and came 
up into the chamber and pulled me down like a 
prisoner ; and when they had found me, they doubted 
nothing of the gardener, but seeking alxmt more 
narrowly, at length they found him couched in a 
chest. And so they brought out the jx>or gardener 
to the justices, who was committed immediately to 
prison, in order that he might suffer the pain of 



capite pensurnm in j)ublicum declucunt carcerem, 
summoque risu meum prospectum cavillari non de- 
sinunt. Unde etaim de prospectu et umbra asini 
natum est frequens proverbium. 

i Apuleius has here combined two Greek proverbs of con- 
siderably greater antiquity than his story, t 6vov ira/ja/ctffewj 
and virtp 6vov <r/us. The first is variously explained. There 
is a tale that a donkey broke some vessels in a potter's shop 
by going to look out of the window; the potter sued its 
master for damages, and when asked by the magistrate the 
subject of his complaint, answered " of the peeping of an 



death ; but they could never forbear laughing and 
jesting how I looked out from my window : from 
which, and from my shadow, is risen the common 
proverb of the peeping and shadow of an ass. 1 

ass"; or it has been explained that, frightened by an ass 
looking on, some game-birds flew suddenly away and avoided 
or broke a fowler's nets. The other proverb is derived from 
a story that a man who hired an ags lay down to sleep in its 
shadow on a hot day, and the animal's master objected that 
he had hired only the ass and not its shadow ; and the re- 
sulting lawsuit brought into proverbial use the expression 
"about an ass's shadow" to describe a dispute about a wholly 
trivial matter. 



1 DIE sequenti meus quitlem dominus hortulanus quid 
egerit nescio, me tamen miles ille, qui propter 
eximiam impotentiam pulcherrime vapularat, ab illo 
praesepio nullo equidem contradicente deductum al>- 
ducit atque a suo contubernio (hoc enim mihi vide- 
batur) sarcinis propriis onustum et prorsum exornatum 
armatumque militariter producit ad viam. Nam et 
galeam gerebam nitore praemicantem et scutum 
longius relucens sed etiam lanceam longissimo hastili 
conspicuam, quae scilicet non disciplinae tune quidem 
causa sed propter terrendos miseros viatores in 
summo atque edito sarcinarum cumulo ad instar 
exercitus sedulo composuerat. Confecta campestri 
nee adeo difficili via ad quandam civitatulam per- 
venimus, nee in stabulo sed in domo cuiusdam 
decurionis devertimus, statimque me commendato 
cuidam servulo ipse ad praepositum suum, qui 
mille armatorum ducatum sustinebat, sollicite pro- 

2 Post dies plusculos ibidem dissignatum scelestum 
ac nefarium facinus memini, sed ut vos etiam lega- 
tis, ad librum profero. Dominus aedium habebat 
iuvenem filium probe litteratum atque ob id conse- 
quenter pietate, modestia praecipuum, quem tibi 


THE next day how my master the gardener sped I 
know not, but the gentle soldier, who had been so well 
beaten for his exceeding cowardice, led me from my 
manger to his lodging (as it seemed to me) without 
the contradiction of any man. There he laded me 
well, and garnished my body for the way like an ass 
of arms. For on the one side I bare a helmet that 
shined exceedingly ; on the other side a target that 
glittered more a thousandfold ; and on the top of my 
burden he had put a long spear. Now these things la- 
placed thus gallantly, not because such was the rule 
of arms, but to the end he might make fear those 
which passed by, when they saw such a similitude of 
war piled upon the heap of baggage When we had 
gone a good part of our journey, over the plain ami 
easy fields, we fortuned to come to a little town, 
where we lodged, not at an inn, but at a certain 
corporal's house. And there the soldier took me to one 
of the servants, M'hile he himself went carefully towards 
his captain, who had the charge of a thousand men. 
When we had remained there a few days, I 
understood of a wicked and mischievous deed 
committed there, which I have put in writing, to 
the end you may know the same. The master 
of the house had a young son instructed in good 
literature, and therefore endowed with virtuous 
manners, but especially with shamefastness, such 
a one as you would desire to have the like. Now 



quoque provenisse cuperes vel talem. Hunts matre 
multo ante defuncta, rursum matriinoniiim sibi repara- 
verat, ductaque alia filium procreaverat alium, qui 
adaequeiam duodecimum annumaetatis supercesserat. 
Sed noverca forma magis quam moribus in domo mariti 
praepollens, seu naturaliter impudica seu fato ad ex- 
tremum impulsa flagitium, oculos ad privignum 
adiecit : iam ergo, lector optime, scito te tragoediam, 
non fabulam legere, et a socco ad cothurnum ascen- 
dere. Sed mulier ilia quamdiu primis elementis 
Cupido parvulus nutriebatur, imbecillis adhuc eius 
viribus facile ruborem tenuem deprimens silentio 
resistebat : at ubi, completis igne vesano totis prae- 
cordiis, immodice bacchatus Amor exaestuabat, 
saevienti deo iam succubuit, et languore simulate 
vulnus animi mentitur in corporis valetudine. Iam 
cetera salutis vultusque detrimenta et aegris et 
amantibus examussim convenire nemo qui nesciat : 
pallor deformis, marcentes oculi, lassa genua, quies 
turbida et suspiritus cruciatus tarditate vehementior : 
crederes et illam fluctuare tantum vaporibus febrium. 
nisi quod et flebat. Heu medicorum ignarae mentes ! 
Quid venae pulsus, quid caloris intemperantia, quid 
fatigatus anhelitus et utrimquesecus iactatae crebriter 
laterum mutuae vicissitudines ? Dii boni ! Quam 
facilis licet non artifici medico, cuivis tamen docto 
Veneriae cupidinis comprehensio, cum videas aliquem 


his mother died a long time before, ;md then 
his father married a new wife, and had another 
child, that was now of the full age of twelve yrars. 
This stepdame was more excellent in beauty than 
honesty in her husband's house; for she loved this 
young man her son-in-law, either because she was 
unchaste by nature, or because she was enforced In- 
flate to commit so great a mischief. Gentle reader, 
thou shalt not read of a fable, but rather a tragedy, 
and must here change from sock to buskin. 1 This 
woman, when little Cupid first began to do his work 
in her heart, could easily resist his weak strength, 
and pressed down in silence her desire and inordinate 
appetite, by reason of shame and fear ; but after that 
Love compassed and burned with his mad fire every 
part of her breast, she was compelled to yield unto 
this raging Cupid, and under colour of disease and 
infirmity of her body to conceal the wound of her 
restless mind. Every man knoweth well the signs 
and tokens of love, "and how that sickness is con- 
venient to the same, working upon health and 
countenance; her countenance was pale, her eyes 
sorrowful, her knees weak, her rest disturbed, and 
she would sigh deeply by reason of her slow tonm-nt ; 
there was no comfort in her, but continual weeping 
and sobbing, in so much you would have thought 
that she had some spice of an ague, saving that she 
wept unreasonably. The physicians knew not her 
disease 2 when they felt the beating of h.-r veins, the 
intemperance of her heat, the sobbing sighs, and her 
often tossing on every side; no, no, the cunning 
physicians knew it not, but a scholar of Venus court 

1 The soccus was the low shoe of the comic actor ; the 
cothurnus, the high boot of the tragedian. 

2 CD Aen IV 65 : " Heu vaturn ignarae mentes I 



S sine corporis calore flagrantem. Ergo igitur ini- 
patientia furoris altius agitata diutinum rupit silen- 
tium et ad se vocari praecipit filium : quod nomen 
in eo, si posset, ne ruboris admoneretur, libenter 
eraderet. Nee adulescens aegrae parentis moratus 
imperiurn, senili tristitie striatam gerens frontem 
cubiculum petit, uxori patris matrique fratris utcum- 
que debitum sistens obsequium. Sed ilia cruciabili 
silentio diutissime fatigata, et ut in quodam vado 
dubitationis haerens, omne verbum quod praesenti 
sermoni putabat aptissimum rursum improbans, 
nutante etiam nunc pudore, unde potissimum caperet 
exordium decunctatur. At iuvenis nihil etiam tune 
sequius suspicatus, summisso vultu rogat ultro prae- 
sentes causas aegritudinis. Tune ilia nancta soli- 
tudinis damnosam ocoasionem, prorumpit in audaciam, 
et ubertim allacrimans laciniaque contegens faciein 
voce trepida sic eum breviter affatur : " Causa omnis 
et origo praesentis doloris et etiam medela ipsa et 
salus unica mihi tute ipse es : isti enim tui oculi per 
meos oculos ad intima delapsi praecordia meis 
medullis acerrimum commovent incendium. Ergo 
miserere tua causa pereuntis nee te religio patris 
omnino deterreat, cui morituram prorsus servabis 
uxorem : illius enim recognoscens imaginem in tua 
facie merito te diligo. Habes solitudinis plenam 


might easily conject the whole, seeing one burning 
without any bodily fire. So after that she had been 
long time tormented in her overmastering affection, 
and was no more able to keep silence, she caused her 
son to be called for (which word " son " she would 
fain put away, that she might not be rebuked of 
shame). Then he, nothing disobedient to the com- 
mandment of his ailing mother, with a sad and 
modest countenance, wrinkled like some old grand- 
sire, came with due obedience into the chamber of 
his stepdame, the mother of his brother ; but she, 
being utterly wearied with the silence that she had 
kept so long to her torment, was in great doubt what 
she might do ; for she rejected within herself every 
word which she had before thought most apt for this 
meeting, and could not tell what to say first, by 
reason of her shame which still trembled before its 
fall. This young man even then suspecting no ill, 
with humble courtesy and downcast countenance 
demanded the cause of her present disease. Thru 
she, having found the occasion to utter her wirkrd 
intent, put on boldness, and with weeping eyes and 
covered face began with trembling voice to speak 
unto him in this manner: "Thou, thou art the 
original cause of my present dolour ; but thou too art 
my medicine and only health, for those thy comely 
eyes have so pierced through these eyes of mine 
and are so fastened within my breast, that they have 
kindled therein a raging and a roaring fire. Have 
pity therefore upon me that die by thy fault, neither 
let thy conscience reclaim to offend thy father, when 
as thou mayest save his wife for him from death. More- 
over, since as thou dost resemble thy father's shape 
in every point, I do justly fancy thee, seeing his 
image in thy face. Now is ministered unto thee 



fiduciary habes capax necessarii facir.oris otium ; 
nam quod nemo novit, paene non fit." 
4 Repentino malo perturbatus adulescens quam- 
quam tale facinus protinus exhorruisset, non tamen 
negationis intempestiva severitate putavit exasper- 
andum, sed cautae promissionis dilatione leniendum. 
Ergo prolixe pollicetur, et bonum caperet animum 
refectionique se ac saluti redderet impendio suadet, 
donee patris aliqua profectione liberum voluptati 
concederetur spatium, statimque se refert a noxio 
conspectu novercae, et tarn magnam domus cladem 
ratus indigere consilio pleniore ad quendam comper- 
tae gravitatis educatorem senera protinus refert : nee 
quicquam diutina deliberatione tarn salubre visum 
quam fuga celeri procellam fortunae saevientis eva- 
dere. Sed impatiens vel exiguae dilationis mulier 
ficta qualioet causa confestim marito miris persuadet 
artibus ad longissime dissitas festinare villulas. Quo 
facto maturatae spei vesania praeceps promissae libi- 
dinis flagitat vadimonium : sed iuvenis modo istud 
modo aliud causae faciens execrabilem frustratur eitis 
conspectum, quoad ilia nuntiorum varietate pollici- 
tationem sibi denegatam manifesto perspiciens, mobi- 
litate lubrica nefarium amorem ad longe deterius 
transtulisset odium, et assumpto statini nequissimo 


time and place ; now hast thou occasion to work thy 
will, seeing that we are alone. And it is a common 
saying : ' Never known, never done.' " 

This young man, troubled in his mind at so 
sudden an ill, although he abhorred to commit so 
great a crime, yet he would not be rashly stern to undo 
her yet more with a present denial, but warily paci- 
fied her mind with delay of promise. Wherefore with 
long speech he promised her to do all according to 
her desire : and in the mean season, he willed his 
mother to be of good cheer, and comfort herself and 
look to her health, till as he might find some con- 
venient time to come unto her, when his father was 
ridden forth : wherewithal he got him away from 
the pestilent sight of his stepdame. And knowing 
that this matter touching the ruin of all the whole 
house needed the counsel of wise and grave persons, 
he went incontinently to a sage old man, a tutor, 
and declared the whole circumstance. The old man, 
after long deliberation, thought there was no better 
mean to avoid the storm of cruel fortune to come 
than to run away. In the mean season this wicked 
woman, impatient of any delay how little soever, 
egged her husband to ride abroad to visit some far 
lands that he had : then she, maddened by the hope 
that had now (as she thought) grown rife, asked the 
young man the accomplishment of his promise ; but 
he, to avoid the sight of her whom he hated, would 
find always excuses from appearing before her, till in 
the end she understood by the various colour of the 
messages which he sent her that he nothing regarded 
her. Then she, in her fickle mood, by how much 
she wickedly loved him before, by so much and more 
she hated him now. And by and by she r.-illrd "" 
of her servants who had conic with her among her 



et ad omne facinus emancipate quodam dotali servulo 
perfidiae suae consilia communicat : nee quicquam 
melius videtur quam vita miserum privare iuvenem. 
Ergo missus continue furcifer venenum praesentarium 
comparat, idque vino diligenter dilutum insontis pri- 
vigni praeparat exitio. 

5 Ac dum de oblationis opportunitate secum noxii 
deliberant homines, forte fortuna puer ille iunior, 
proprius pessimae feminae films, post matutinum la- 
borem studiorum domum se recipiens, prandio iam 
capto sitiens repertum vini poculum, in quo venenum 
latebat inclusum, nescius fraudis occultae continuo 
perduxit haustu, atque, ubi fratri suo paratam mor- 
tem ebibit, exanimis terrae procumbit. Illicoque re- 
pentina pueri pernicie paedagogus commotus ululabili 
clamore matrem totamque ciet familiam, iamque cog- 
nito casu noxiae potionis varie quisque praesentium 
auctores insimulabant extremi facinoris. Sed dira 
ilia femina et malitiae novercalis exemplar unicuin, 
non acerba filii morte, non parricidii conscientia, non 
infortunio domus, non luctu mariti vel aerumna funeris 
commota cladem familiae in vindictae compendium 
traxit, missoque protinus cursore, qui vianti marito 
domus expugnationem nuntiaret, ac mox eodem ocius 
ab itinere regresso, personata iiimia temeritate in- 


dowry, the worst of all and ready to all mischiefs, to 
whom she declared all her treacherous secrets. And 
there it was concluded between them two, that the, 
surest way was to kill the young man : whereupon 
this varlet went incontinently to buy poison, which 
he mingled with wine, to the intent he would give 
it the innocent young man to drink, and thereby 
presently to kill him. 

But while the guilty ones were in deliberation 
how they might offer it unto him, behold, here 
happened a strange adventure. For the young son 
of that evil woman that came from school at noon 
(being very thirsty after his dinner) took the pot 
wherein the poison was mingled, and ignorant of the 
hidden venom drank a good draught thereof, which 
was prepared to kill his brother: whereby he presently 
fell down to the ground dead. His schoolmaster, 1 
annoyed by this sudden chance, called his mother 
and all the servants of the house with a loud voice. 
Incontinently when the poisoned cup was known 
every man declared his opinion touching the death 
of the child ; but the cruel woman, the signal ex- 
ample of stepmother's malice, was nothing moved 
by the bitter death of her son, or by her own con- 
science of parricide, or by the misfortune of her 
house, or by the dolour of her husband, or by the 
affliction of this death, but rather devised the de- 
struction of all her family to fulfil her desire to be 
avenged. For by and by she sent a messenger after 
her husband to tell him the great misfortune which 
happened after his departure. And when he came 
home the wicked woman, putting on a bold face 

l The jKiedayogus was a trusted slave who conducted the 
boy to and from school, and had charge of him when at 


simulat privigni veneno filium suum interceptum. 
Et hoc quidem non adeo mentiebatur, quod iam 
destinatam iuveni mortem praevenisset puer; sed 
fratrem iuniorem fingebat ideo privigni scelere per- 
emptum, quod eius probrosae libidini, qua se com- 
primere temptaverat, noluisset succumbere. Nee 
tarn immanibus contenta mendaciis addebat sibi quo- 
que ob detectum flagitium eundem ilium gladium 
comminari. Tune infelix duplici filiorum morte per- 
cussus magnis aerumnarum procellis aestuat : nam et 
iuniorem incoram sui funerari videbat, et alterum ob 
incestum parricidiumque capitis scilicet damnatum 
iri certo sciebat. Ad hoc uxoris dilectae nimium 
mentitis lamentationibus ad extremum subolis im- 
pellebatur odium. 

6 Vixdum pompae funebres et sepultura filii fuerat 
explicata, et statim ab ipso eius rogo senex infelix, 
ora sua recentibus adhuc rigans lacrimis trahensque 
cinere sordentem canitiem, foro se festinus immittit 
atque ibi, turn fletu, turn precibus, genua etiam de- 
curionum contingens, nescius fraudium pessimae 
mulieris, in exitium reliqui filii plenis operabatur 
affectibus : ilium incestum paterno thalamo, ilium 
parricidam fraterno exitio et in comminata novercae 
caede sicarium. Tanta denique miseratione tantaque 
indignatione curiam sed et plebem maerens inflam- 
maverat, ut remoto iudicandi taedio et accusationis 
manifestis probationibus et responsionis meditatis 
ambagibus cuncti conclamarint lapidibus obrutum 
publicum malum publice vindicari. 



beyond all reason, declared that her son had been 
taken off with his brother's poison. And so far she 
spoke no lie, inasmuch as the boy had forestalled the 
death that was prepared for the young man ; but she 
feigned that he had been for this reason murdered by 
his brother's crime, because she would not consent 
to his evil will which he had had towards her, and 
told him divers other leasings, adding in the end 
that he threatened with his sword to kill her like- 
wise, because she discovered the fact. Then the 
unhappy father was stricken with a double storm of 
dolour at the death of his two children, for on the 
one side he saw his younger slain before his eyes, on 
the other side he seemed to see the elder condemned 
to die for his offences both of incest and of parricide, 
and where he beheld his dear wife lament in such 
sort, it gave him further occasion to hate his son 
more deadly. 

But the funerals of his younger son were scarce 
finished, when the old man the father, even at the 
return from the grave, with weeping eyes and his 
white hair befouled with ashes went apace to the 
justice and worked with all his might for the 
destruction of his remaining son, accusing him of 
the incest that he had attempted, of the slaughter ot 
his brother, and how he threatened to slay his wife ; 
knowing naught of that wicked woman's wiles, he 
besought the magistrates with tears and prayers, 
yea, even embracing their knees, for this son's 
death. Hereby with weeping and lamentation he 
inflamed all the elders and the people as well to 
pity and indignation, in so much that without any 
delay of trial or further inquisition or the careful 
pleading of defenders they cried all that he should 
be stoned to death, to the end that this public criiin- 



Magistrates interim metu periculi proprii, ne de 

parvis indignationis elementis ad exitium disciplinae 

civitatisque seditio procederet, partim decuriones 

deprecari, partim populares compescere, ut rite et 

more maiorum iudicio reddito et utrimquesecus alleg- 

ationibus examinatis, civiliter sententia promeretur, 

nee ad instar barbaricae feritatis vel tyrannicae im- 

potentiae damnaretur aliquis inauditus, et in pace 

placida tarn dirum saeculo proderetur exemplum. 

7 Placuit salubre consilium et illico iussus praeco* pro- 

nuntiat patres in curiam convenirent. Quibus pro- 

tenus dignitatis iure consueta loca residentibus rur- 

sum praeconis vocatu primus accusator incedit. Tune 

demum clamatus inducitur etiam reus et exemplo 

legis Atticae Martiique iudicii causae patronis de- 

nuntiat praeco neque principia dicere neque misera- 

tionem commovere. Haec ad istum modum gesta 

compluribus mutuo sermocinantibus cognovi : quibus 

autem verbis accusator urserit, quibus rebus diluerit 

reus, ac prorsus orationes altercationesque neque 

ipse absens apud praesepium scire neque ad vos 

quae ignoravi possum enuntiare, sed quae plane 

comperi ad istas Htteras proferam. Simul eniin 

finita est dicentium contentio, veritatem criminum 

fidemque probationibus certis instrui nee suspicioni- 

bus tantam coniecturam permitti placuit, atque 



might be publicly revenged ; but the justices, fearing 
lest a farther inconvenience might arise to them- 
selves by a particular vengeance, and to the end 
there might fortune from a little beginning no sedi- 
tion amongst the people with public riot, prayed the 
decurions and the people of the city to proceed by 
examination of witnesses on both sides, like good 
citizens, and with order of justice according to the 
ancient custom ; for the giving of any hasty sentence 
or judgement without hearing of the contrary part, 
such as the barbarous and cruel tyrants accustom 
to use, would give an ill example in time of peace to 
their successors. 

This safe opinion pleased every man ; wherefore 
the senators and counsellors were called by an 
herald, who, being placed in order according to 
their dignity, caused first the accuser %nd thru only 
the defender (again by the voice of the herald) to be 
brought forth, and by the example of the Athenian 
law, and judgement of Mars' hill, their advocates 
were commanded to plead their causes briefly, with- 
out preambles or motions of the people to pity. 
(And if you demand how I understand all this 
matter, you shall understand that I heard many 
declare the same in talking among themselves, but 
to recite what words the accuser used in his in- 
vective, what answer and excuses the defender made, 
in fine the orations and pleadings of each party, 
verily this I am not able to do, for I was fa>t bound 
at the manger ; but as I learned and knew by others, 
I will, God willing, declare unto you.) So it was 
ordered that after the pleadings of l>oth sides M.-IS 
ended, they thought best to try and bolt out fee 
verity of the charges by witnesses, all presumptions 
and likelihoods set apart in so great a case, and to call 



ilium potissimum servum, qui solus haec ita gesta 
esse scire diceretur, sisti modis omnibus oportere. 
Nee tantillum cruciarius ille vel fortuna tarn magni 
iudicii vel confertae conspectu curiae vel certe noxia 
conscientia sua deterritus, quae ipse finxerat quasi 
vera asseverare atque asserere incipit : quod se 
vocasset indignatus fastidio novercae iuvenis, quod 
ulciscens iniuriam filii eius mandaverit necem, quod 
promisisset grande silentii praemium, quod recusaiiti ] 
mortem sit comminatus, quod venenum sua manu 
temperatum dandum fratri reddiderit, quod ad cri- 
minis probationem reservatum poculum neglexisse 
suspicatus sua postremum manu porrexerit puero. 
Haec eximie mentita 1 ad veritatis imaginem verbe- 
rone illo simulata cum trepidatione perferente 
Sfinitum est iudicium. Nee quisquam decurionum 
tarn aequus remanserat iuveni, quin eum evidenter 
noxae compertum insui culleo pronuntiaret. Cum 
iam sententiae pares, cunctorum stilis ad ununi 
sermonem congruentibus, ex more perpetuo in 
urnam aeream deberent conici, quo semel conditis 
calculis, iam cum rei fortuna transacto, nihil postea 

i Bluemner's en:endation for the MSS' eximia enim, which 
gives no sense. 



in chiefly the servant, who only was reported to know 
all the matter. By and by this rope-ripe slave came 
in, who, nothing abashed at the fear of so great a 
judgement, or at the presence of the judges in con- 
clave, or at his own guilty conscience, began to tell 
and to swear as true all those lies which he so finely 
feigned. With a bold countenance he presented 
himself before the justices, and confirmed the accu- 
sation against the young man, saying : " O ye judges, 
on a day when this young man loathed and hated his 
stepmother he called me, desiring me to poison his 
brother, whereby he might revenge himself, and if I 
would do it, and keep the matter secret, he promised 
to give me a good reward for my pains ; but when 
the young man perceived that I would not accord to 
his will, he threatened to slay me : whereupon he 
went himself and bought poison, and after tempered 
it with wine, and then gave it me to give to the 
child ; but when he thought that I did it not, but 
kept it to be a witness off his crime, he offered it to 
his brother with his own hands." When the varlet 
with a feigned and trembling countenance had ended 
these words, which seemed a likelihood of truth, the 
judgement was ended : neither was there found any 
judge or counsellor so merciful to the young man 
accused as would not judge him culpable, but rather 
gave sentence that he should be put and sewn in the 
leather sack for parricides. 1 Wherefore, since the 
sentences of all were alike, and all did agree to the 
same verdict, there wanted nothing but (as the 
ancient custom was) to put the sentences into a 
brazen pot, and when once they were cast thither, 
the decision of fate being finally taken, it should 

1 The parricide was sewn up in a sack with a dog, a cock, a 
snake and an ape, and thrown into a river or the sea. 



eommutari licebat, sed mancipabatur potestas capitis 
in manum carnificis, unus e curia senior, prae ceteris 
compertae fidei atque auctoritatis praecipuae medi- 
cus, orificium urnae manu contegens ne quis mitteret 
calculum temere, haec ad ordinem pertulit : 

" Quod aetatis sum, vobis approbatum me vixisse 
gaudeo, nee patiar falsis criminibus petito reo mani- 
festum homicidium perpetrari,nec vos, qui iureiurando 
astricti iudicatis, inductos servuli mendacio peierare. 
Ipse non possum calcata numinum religione conscien- 
tiam meam fallens perperam pronuntiare : ergo ut 
9 res est, de me cognoscite. Furcifer iste, venenum 
praesentarium comparare sollicitus centumque aureos 
solidos offerens pretium, me non olim convenerat, 
quod aegroto cuidam dicebat necessariurn, qui morbi 
inextricabilis veterno vehementer implicatus vitae 
se cruciatui subtrahere gestiret. At ego perspiciens 
malum istum verberonem blaterantem atque incon- 
cinne causificantem,certusque aliquodmoliriflagitium, 
dedt quidem potionem, dedi ; sed futurae quaestioni 
praecavens non statim pretium quod offerebatur 
accepi, sed ' Ne forte aliquis ' inquam e Istorum 
quos offers aureorum nequam vel adulter repperiatur, 
in hoc ipso sacculo conditos eos annulo tuo praenota, 
donee altera die nummulario praesente compro- 



remain a thing irrevocable,- but he would be de- 
livered to the hands of the executioner. Then 
there arose a sage ancient of the court, a physician 
of good conscience and credit throughout all the 
city, that stopped the mouth of the pot that none 
might rashly cast his stone therein, saying thus 
before the assembly : 

" I am right glad, ye reverend judges, that I am a 
man of name and estimation amongst you all the days 
of my life, whereby I am accounted such a one as will 
not suffer any person to be put to death by false and 
untrue accusations, neither you (being sworn to judge 
uprightly) to be misinformed and abused by invented 
lies, and tales of a slave. For I cannot but declare 
and open my conscience, lest I should be found to 
bear small honour and faith to the gods : wherefore 
I pray you give ear, and I will shew you the whole 
truth of the matter. You shall understand that this 
servant, which hath merited to be hanged, came one 
of these days to speak with me, promising to give 
me a hundred crowns if I would give him a present 
poison, which would cause a man to die suddenly, 
saying that he would have it for one that was sick of 
an incurable disease, to the end he might be delivered 
from all his torment. But I, perceiving that the 
varlet was talking foolishness and telling a clumsy 
tale, and fearing lest he would work some mischief 
withal, gave him a potion, yea, I gave it; but to the 
intent I might clear myself from all danger that 
might happen, I would not presently take the money 
which he offered : but lest any one of the crowns 
should lack weight or be found counterfeit, I willrd 
him to seal the purse wherein they were put with his 
manual ring, whereby the next day we might go 
together to the goldsmith to try them. This he did, 



bentur.' Sic inductus signavit pecuniam, quam ex- 
inde ut iste repraesentatus est iudicio, iussi de meis 
aliquem curriculo taberna promptam afferre, et en 
ecce perlatam coram exhibeo. Videat et suum sigillum 
recognoscat : nam quemadmodum eius veneni frater 
insimulari potest quod iste comparaverit? " 
10 Ingens exinde verberonem corripit trepidatio et 
in vicem humani colons succedit pallor infernus, per- 
que universa membra frigidus sudor emanabat : tune 
pedes incertisalternationibuscommovere, modo hanc 
modo illam capitis partem scalpere, et ore semiclauso 
balbutiens nescioquas afannas effutire, ut eum nemo 
prorsus a culpa vacuum merito credere t. Sed 
revalescente rursus astutia constantissime negare et 
accersere mendacii non desinit medicum. Qui praeter 
iudicii religionem cum fidem suam coram lacerari vi- 
deret, multiplicato studio verberonem ilium contendit 
redarguere, donee iussu magistratuum ministeria pub- 
lica contrectatis nequissimi servi manibus annulum 
ferreum deprehensum cum signo sacculi conferunt, 
quae comparatio praecedentem roboravit suspicionem. 
Nee rota vel equuleus more Graecorum tormentis 
eius apparata iam deerant, sed offirmatus mira prae- 
sumptione nullis verberibus ac ne ipso qu'tdem 
succumbit igni. 

and sealed up the money ; wherefore understanding 
that he was brought present before you this day, I 
hastily commanded one of my servants to fetch the 
purse from my house, and here I bring it unto you 
to see whether he shall deny his own sign or no : and 
you may easily conject that his words are untrue, 
which he alleged against the young man touching 
the buying of the poison, considering Ije bought the 
poison himself." 

When the physician had spoken these words, you 
might perceive how the traitorous knave changed his 
colour, becoming deathly pale from the natural 
complexion of a man, how he sweated cold for fear, 
how he trembled in every part of his body, how he 
set one leg uncertainly before another, scratching 
now this, now that part of his head, and began to 
stammer forth some foolish trifles, his lips but half 
open, whereby there was no person but would judge 
him culpable. In the end when he was somewhat 
returned to his former subtilty, he began to deny all 
that was said, and stoutly affirmed that the physician 
did lie. But the physician, besides the oath which 
he had sworn to give true judgement, perceiving that 
he was railed at and his words denied, did never 
cease to confirm his sayings and to disprove the 
varlet, till such time as the officers, by the command- 
ment of the judges, seized his hands and took tin- 
ring wherewith he had sealed the purse, and laid it 
by the seal thereon : and this augmented the suspicion 
which was conceived of him first. Howbeit neither 
the wheel nor the rack nor any other torment (accord- 
ing to the use of the Grecians) which were done 
unto him nor stripes, no nor yet the fire, could enforce 
him to confess the matter, so obstinate and grounded 
was he in his mischievous mind. 


11 Turn medicus: " Non patiar " inquit " Hercule, 
non patiar vel contra fas de innocente isto iuvene 
supplicium vos sumere, vel hunc ludificato nostro 
iudicio poenam noxii facinoris evadere. Dabo enim 
rei praesentis evidens argumentum : nam cum vene- 
num peremptorium comparare pessimus iste gestiret, 
nee meae sectae crederem convenire causas ulli 
praebere mortis, nee exitio sed saluti hominum 
medicinam quaesitam esse didicissem, verens ne si 
daturum me negassem, intempestiva repulsa viam 
sceleri subministrarem et ab alio quopiam exitiabilem 
mercatus hie potionem vel postremum gladio vel 
quovis telo nefas inchoatum perficeret, dedi venenum, 
sed somniferum ; mandragoram ilium gravedinis 
compertae famosum et morti simillimi soporis effica- 
cem. Nee mirum desperatissimum istum latronem, 
certum extremae poenae, quae more maiorum in eum 
competit, cruciatus istos ut leviores facile tolerare. 
Sed si vere puer meis temperatam manibus sumpsit 
-potionem, vivit et quiescit et dormit et protinus 
marcido sopore discusso remeabit ad diem lucidam : 
quod si vere peremptus est, si morte praeventus est, 
quaeratis licet causas mortis eius alias." 

12 Ad istum modtim seniore adorante placuit, et 
ituv confestim magna cum festinatione ad illud scpul- 

1 Adlington's marginal note is worth transcribing : " The 
office of a physician is to cure and not to kill, as I have heard 



But the physician, perceiving that those torments 
did nothing prevail, began to say : " I cannot suffer 
or abide that this young man who is innocent should 
against all law and conscience be punished and con- 
demned to die, and the other which is culpable 
should escape so easily, and after mock and flout at 
your judgement : for I will give you an evident proof 
and argument of this present crime. You shall 
understand that when this caitiff' demanded of me a 
present and strong poison, I considered that it was 
not the part of my calling to give occasion of any 
other's death, but rather to cure and save sick 
persons by mean of medicines. 1 And on the other 
side I feared lest if I should deny his request I might 
by my untimely refusing minister a further cause ot 
his mischief by some other way, either that he would 
buy poison of some other, or else retuni and work 
his wicked intent with a sword or some dnngrroiis 
weapon. Wherefore I gave him no poison, but a 
soothing drink of mandragora, which is of such force 
that it will cause any man to sleep as though he- 
were dead. Neither is it any marvel if this most 
desperate man, who is certainly assured to be put to 
that death which is ordained by our ancient custom, 
can suffer or abide these facile and easy torments. 
But if it be so that the child hath received the drink 
as I tempered it with mine own hands, he is yt-t alive 
and doth but rest and sleep, and after his sleep he 
shall return to life again; but if he hath been 
murdered, if he be dead indeed, then may you 
further enquire of the causes of his death." 

The opinion of this ancient physician was found 
good, and every man had a desire to go to the 
tell many physicians of speculation have done, before they 
have come to practice." 



chrum, quo corpus pueri depositum iacebat : nemo 
de curia, de optimatibus nemo ac ne de ipso quidem 
populo quisquam, qui non illuc curiose confluxerit. 
Ecce pater, suis ipse manibus cooperculo capuli 
remoto, commodum discusso mortifero sopore sur- 
gentem postliminio mortis deprehendit filium, eum- 
que complexus artissime, verbis impar praesenti 
gaudio, producit ad populum atque, ut erat adhuc 
feralibus amiculis instrictus atque obditus, deportatur 
ad iudicium puer. lamque liquido servi nequissimi 
atque mulieris nequioris patefactis sceleribus pro- 
cedit in medium nuda veritas ; et novercae quidem 
perpetuum indicitur exiliuin, servus vero patibulo 
suffigitur et omnium consensu bono medico sinuntur 
aurei, opportuni somni pretium. Et illius quidem 
senis famosa atque fabulosa fortuna providentiae 
divinae condignum excipit exitum, qui momento 
modico, immo puncto exiguo, post orbitatis pericu- 
lum, adolescentium duorum pater repente factus 

13 At ego tune temporis talibus fatorum fluctibus 
volutabar : miles ille, qui me nullo vendente com- 
paraverat et sine pretio suum fecerat, tribuni sui 
praecepto debitum sustinens obsequium, litteras ad 
magnum scriptas principem Romam versus perlaturus, 
vicinis me quibusdam duobus servis fratribus undecim 
denariis vendidit. His erat dives admodum dominus: 
at illorum alter pistor dulciarius, qui panes et mellita 
concinnabat edulia, alter cocus, qui sapidissimis intri- 


sepulchre where the child was laid : there was none 
of the justices, none of any reputation of the town, 
nor any indeed of the common people, but went to 
see this strange sight. Amongst them all the father 
of the child removed with his own hands the cover 
of the coffin, and found his son rising up after his 
dead and soporiferous sleep : and when he beheld 
him as one risen from the dead he embraced him in 
his arms ; and he could speak never a word for his 
present gladness, but presented him before the people 
with great joy and consolation, and as he was wrapped 
and bound in the clothes of his grave, so he brought 
him before the judges. Hereupon the wickedness 
of the servant and the treason of the stepdame were 
plainly discovered, and the verity of the matter 
nakedly revealed : whereby the woman was per- 
petually exiled, the servant hanged on a gallows, 
and by the consent of all the physician had the 
crowns to be a reward for the timely sleep which he 
had prepared for the child. Behold how the great 
and wonderful fortune of the old man brought by 
the providence of God to an happy end, who, think- 
ing to be deprived of all his race and posterity, was 
quickly, nay in the twinkling of an eye, made the 
father of two children. 

But as for me I was ruled and handled by fortune, 
according to her pleasure : for the soldier which got 
me without a seller and paid never a penny for me, 
by the commandment of his captain was sent unto 
Rome in course of his duty to carry letters to the 
great Prince, and before he went he sold me I 
eleven pence to two of his companions, brothers, 
being servants to a man of worship and wealU 
whereof one was a baker, that baked sweetbread and 
delicates : the other a cook, which dressed with rich 



mentis succuum pulmenta condita vapore mollibat. 
Unico illi contubernio communera vitam sustinebant 
meque ad vasa ilia compluria gestanda praedes- 
tinarant, quae domini regiones plusculas pererrantis 
variis usibus erant necessaria. Adsciscor itaque inter 
duos illos fratres tertrus contubernalis, baud ullo tem- 
pore tarn benivolam fortunam expertus : nam ves- 
pera, post opiparas cenas earumque splendidissimos 
apparatus, multas numero partes in cellulam suam 
mei solebant reportare domini : ille porcorum, pul- 
Iprum, piscium et cuiuscemodi pulmentorum largissi- 
mas reliquias, hie panes, crustula, lucunculos, hamos, 
lacertulos et plura scitamenta mellita. Qui cum se 
refecturi clausa cellula balneas petissent, oblatis ego 
divinitus dapibus affatim saginabar : nee enim tam 
stultus eram tamque vere asinus, ut duleissimis illis 
14 relictis cibis ceiiarem asperrimum faenum. Et diu 
quidem pulcherrime mihi furatrinae procedebat 
artificium, quippe adhuc timide et satis parce sur- 
ripienti de tam multis pauciora, nee illis fraudes 
ullas in asino suspicantibus. At ubi fiducia latendi 
pleniore capta partes opimas quasque devorabam et 
iucundiora eligens abligurribam dulcia, suspicio non 
exilis fratrum pupugit animos et quamquam de me 
nihil etiam turn tale crederent, tameii cotidiani damni 
studiose vestigabant renm. Illi vero postremo etiam 
mutuo sese rapinae turpissimae criminabantur, iam- 
que curam diligentiorem et acriorem custodelam et 
dinumerationem adhibebant partium. Tandem deni- 
que rupta verecuiidia sic alter alterum compellat : 
" At istud iam neque aequum ac ne humanum qui- 



sauces fine and excellent meats for his master. These 
two lived in common, and would drive me from place 
to place to carry such vessels as were necessary for 
their master when he travelled through divers coun- 
tries. In this sort I was received by these two as a 
third brother and companion, and I thought I was 
never better placed than with them : for when night 
came and the lord's supper was done, which was 
always exceedingly rich and splendid, my masters 
would bring many good morsels into their chamber 
for themselves : one would bring large rests of pigs, 
chickens, fish, and other good meats ; the other fine 
bread, pastries, tarts, custards, and other delicate 
junkets dipped in honey. And when before meat 
they had shut their chamber door and went to the 
baths ; O Lord, how I would fill my guts with those 
goodly dishes : neither was I so much a fool, or so 
very an ass, as to leave the dainty meats and grind 
my teeth upon hard hay. In this sort I continued a 
great space in my artful thieving, for I played the 
honest ass, taking but a little of one dish and a little 
of another, whereby no man mistrusted me. In tin- 
end I was more hardier and more sure that I should 
not be discovered, and began to devour the whole 
messes of the sweetest delicates, which caused the 
baker and the cook to suspect not a little ; howbeit 
they never mistrusted me, but searched about to 
apprehend the daily thief. At length they began to 
accuse one another of base theft, and to keep and 
guard the dishes more diligently, and to number and 
set them in order, one by another, because 
would learn what was taken away: and at last one 
of them was compelled to throw aside all doubting 
and to say thus to his fellow : " Is it riffht or reason 
to break promise and faith in this sort, by steahr, 
21 7 


dem, cotidie ac partes electiores surripere atque iis 
divenditis peculium latenter augere, de reliquis 
aequam vindicate divisionem. Si tibi denique 
societas ista displicet, possumus omnia quidem 
cetera fratres manere, ab isto tamen nexu com- 
munionis discedere : nam video in immensum damni 
procedentem querelam nutrire nobis immanem dis- 
cordiam." Subicit alius : " Laudo istam tuam me- 
hercules et ipse constantiam, quod cotidie furatis 
clanculo partibus praevenisti querimoniam, quam 
diutissime sustinens tacitus ingemescebam, ne viderer 
rapinae sordidae meum fratrem arguere. Sed bene, 
quod utrimquesecus sermone prolato iacturae re- 
medium quaeritur, ne silentio procedens simultas 
15 Eteocleas nobis contentiones pariat." His et simili- 
bus altercati conviciis deierantur utrique nullam se 
prorsus fraudem, nullam denique surreptionem facti- 
tassej sed plane debere cunctis artibus communis 
dispendii latronem inquiri : nam neque asinum, qui 
solus interesset, talibus cibis affici posse, et tamen 
cotidie partes electiles comparere nusquam, nee 
utique cellulam suam tam immanes involare nauseas 
ut olirn Harpyiae fuere, quae diripiebant Phineias 

Interea liberalibus cenis inescatus et humanis 
affatim cibis saginatus, corpus obesa pinguitie comple- 
veranij corium arvina succulenta molliveram, pilum 


away the best meat and selling to augment thy 
private good, and yet nevertheless to have thy equal 
part of the residue that is left? If our partnership 
do displease thee, we will be partners and brothers 
in other things, but in this we will break off: for I 
perceive that the great loss which I sustain will at 
length grow from complaining to be a cause of great 
discord between us." Then answered the other: 
" Verily I praise thy great constancy and subtileness, 
in that thou (when thou hast secretly taken away the 
meat) dost begin to complain first ; whereas I by 
long space of time have silently suffered thee, 
because I would not seem to accuse my brother of 
a scurvy theft. But I am right glad in that we are 
fallen into communication of this matter, to seek a 
remedy for it, lest by our silence like contention might 
arise between us as fortuned between Eteocles l and 
his brother." When they had reasoned and striven 
together in this sort, they sware both earnestly that 
neither of them stole or took away any jot of the meat, 
but that they must conclude to search out the thief by 
all kind of means in common. For they could not 
imagine or think that the ass, who stood alone there, 
would fancy any such meats, and yet every day the 
best parts thereof would utterly disappear ; neither 
could they think that flies were so great or ravenous 
as to devour whole dishes of meat, like the birds 
harpies which carried away the meats of Phineus, 
king of Arcadia. 

In the mean season, while I was fed with dainty 
morsels, and fattened with food fit for men, I gathered 
together my flesh, my skin waxed soft and juicy, my 
hair began to shine, and I was gallant on every part ; 

i Eteocles and Polynices were the two sons of Oedipus 
who killed one another in the internecine itnfe at Thebefc 



liberali nitore nutriveram. Sed iste corporis mei 
decor pudori peperit grande dedecus : insolita nam- 
que tergoris vastitate commoti, faenum prorsus in- 
tactum cotidie remanere cernentes, iam totos ad me 
dirigunt animos ; et hora consueta velut balneas 
petituri, clausis ex more foribus, per quandam modi- 
cam cavernam rimantur me passim expositis epulis 
inhaerentem. Nee ulla cura iam damni sui habita, 
mirati monstruosas asini delicias risu maximo dirum- 
puntur, vocatoque uno et altero ac dein pluribus 
conservis, demonstrant infandam memoratu hebetis 
iumenti gulam. Tantus denique ac tarn liberalis 
cachinnus cunctos invaserat, ut ad aures quoque 
praetereuntis perveniret domini : sciscitatus denique, 
quid bonum rideret familia, cognito quod res erat, 
ipse quoque per idem prospiciens foramen delectatur 
eximie. Ac dehinc risu ipse quoque latissimo ad 
usque intestinorum dolorem redactus, iam patefacto 
cubiculo proxime consistens coram arbitratur. Nam 
et ego tandem ex aliqua parte mollius mihi renidentis 
fortunae contemplatus faciem, gaudio praesentium 
fiduciam mihi subministrante, nee tantillum com- 
motus, securus esitabam, quoad novitate spectaculi 
laetus dominus aedium duci me iussit, immo vero suis 
etiam ipse manibus ad triclinium perduxit mensaque 
posita omne genus edulium solidorum et illibata fer- 
cula iussit apponi. At ego, quarnquam iam bellule 
suffarcinatus, gratiosum commendatioremque me 
tamen ei facere cupiens esurienter exhibitas escas 
appetebam : nam et quid potissimum abhorreret 


but such fair and comely shape of my body was 
cause of my dishonour, for the baker and the cook 
marvelled to see me so sleek and fine, considering 
that my hay was every day left untouched. Where- 
fore they turned all their minds towards me, and on a 
time when at their accustomed hour they made as 
they would go to the baths and locked their chamber 
door, it fortuned that ere they departed away they 
espied me through a little hole how I fell roundly 
to my victuals that lay spread abroad. Then they 
marvelled greatly, and little esteeming the loss of 
their meat laughed exceedingly at the marvellous 
daintiness of an ass, calling the servants of the house, 
one by one and then more together, to shew them 
the greedy gorge and wonderful appetite of a slow 
beast. The laughing of them all was so immoderate 
that the master of the house passing by heard them, 
and demanded the cause of their laughter ; and when 
he understood all the matter, he looked through the 
hole likewise, wherewith he took such a delectation 
that he had well nigh burst his guts with laughing 
and commanded the door to be opened, that he might 
see me at his pleasure. Then I, beholding the face 
of fortune altogether smiling upon me, was nothing 
abashed, but rather more bold for joy, whereby I 
never rested eating till such time as tin- master of 
the house commanded me to be brought out as i 
novelty, nay he led me into his own parlour witl 
his own hands, and there caused all kinds of meats, 
which had been never before touched, to be set 
the table ; and these (although I had eaten suffi 
ciently before, yet to win the further favour of 1 
master of the house) I did greedily devour, and made 
a clean riddance of the delicate meats. Anci 
prove my mild and docile nature wholly, kh3 


asino excogitantes scrupulose, ad explorandam 
mansuetudinem id offerebant mihi, carnes lasere 
infectas, altilia pipere inspersa, pisces exotico iure 
perfusos. Interim convivium summo risu persona- 
bat : quidam denique praesens scurrula " Date " 
inquit " Sodali huic quippiam meri." Quod dictum 
dominus secutus " Non adeo" respondit " Absurd e 
locutus es, furcifer \ valde enim fieri potest ut con- 
tubernalis noster poculum quoque mulsi libenter 
appetat." Et " Heus," ait " Puer, lautum dili- 
genter ecce ilium aureum cantharum mulso con- 
tempera et offer parasito meo ; simul quod ei 
praebiberim commoneto." Ingens exin oborta est 
epulonum expectatio : nee ulla tamen ego ratione 
conterritus otiose ac satis genialiter contorta in 
modum linguae postrema labia grandissimum ilium 
calicem uno haustu perduxi : clamor exsurgit consona 
17 voce cunctorum salute me prosequentium. Magno 
denique delibutus gaudio dominus vocatis servis suis, 
emptoribus meis, iubet quadruplum restitui pretium 
meque cuidam acceptissimo liberto suo et satis pecu- 
liato, magnam praefatus diligentiam, tradidit; qui 
me satis humane satisque comiter nutriebat et, quo 
se patrono commendatiorem faceret, studiosissime 
voluptates eius per meas argutias instruebat. Et 
primum me quidem mensam accumbere suffixo 
cubito, dein alluctari et etiam saltare sublatis pri- 
moribus pedibus perdocuit, quodque esset apprime 


me such meat as every ass doth greatly abhor, for 
they put before me beef and vinegar, birds and 
pepper, fish and sharp sauce. In the mean season, 
they that beheld me at the table did nothing but 
laugh ; then one of the wits that was there said to 
his master : " I pray you, sir, give this feaster some 
drink to his supper." " Marry," quoth he, " I think 
thou sayest true, rascal ; for so it may be that to his 
meat this our dinner-fellow would drink likewise a 
cup of wine. Oh, boy, wash yonder golden pot, and 
fill it with wine ; which done, carry it to my guest, 
and say that I have drank to him." Then all the 
standers-by looked on, looking eagerly to see what 
would come to pass ; but I (as soon as I beheld the 
cup) stayed not long, but at my leisure, like a good 
companion, gathering my lips together to the fashion 
of a man's tongue, supped up all the wine at one 
draught, while all who were there present shouted 
very loudly and wished me good health. 

The master, being right joyful hereat, caused the 
baker and the cook which had bought me to come 
before him; to whom he delivered four tim 
much for me as they paid. Then he committed me 
to one of his most favourite freedmen, that uas vny 
rich, and charged him to look well to me, and that I 
should lack nothing. He obeyed his master's com 
mandment in every point, feeding me with kindness 
and civility ; and to the end he would creep further 
into his favour, he taught me a thousand qualitu . 
and tricks for his pleasure. First he instructed un- 
to sit at the table upon my tail, 1 and then how I 
should wrestle and dance holding up my fore feet 
moreover he taught me (which was much more wondei 
ful) how I should answer when anybody spake i 
1 m ' to recline upon my elbow." 



mirabile, verbis nutum commodare, ut quod nollera 
relate, quod vellem deiecto capite monstrarem, 
sitiensque pocillatore respecto, ciliis alterna con- 
nivens, Inhere flagitarem. Atque haec omnia perfacile 
oboediebam, quae nullo etiam monstrante scilicet 
facerem : sed verebar ne si forte sine magistro 
humano ritu ederem pleraque, rati scaevum prae- 
sagium portendere, velut monstrum ostentumque 
me obtnmcatum vulturiis opimum pabulum red- 
derent. lamque rumor publice crebruerat, quo con- 
spectum atque famigerabilem meis miris artibus 
efFeceram dominum : hie est qui sodalem convivam- 
que possidet asinum luctantem, asinum saltantem, 
asinum voces humanas intellegentem, sensum nutibus 

18 Sed prius est ut vobis, quod initio facere debueram, 
vel nunc saltern referam, quis iste vel unde fuerit. 
Thiasus (hoc enim nomine meus nuncupabatur domi- 
nus) oriundus patria Corintho, quod caput est totius 
Achaiae provinciae, ut eius prosapia atque dignitas 
postulabat, gradatim permensis honoribus qtiinquen- 
nali magistratu fuerat destinatus, et ut splendori 
capessendorum responderet fascium, munus gladia- 
torium triduani spectaculi pollicitus latius munifi- 
centiam suam porrigebat. Denique gloriae publicae 


me, with lifting 1 my head if I would not anything, 
but bowing it if I would ; and if I did lack drink, i 
should look still upon the minister of drink, winking 
first with one eye and then with the other. AH 
which things I did willingly bring to pass, and obeyed 
his doctrine ; howbeit I could have done all these 
things without his teaching, but I feared greatly lest 
in shewing myself cunning to do all like a man, without 
a master, I should portend some great and strange 
wonder, and as a prodigy thereby be slain and 
thrown out to wild vultures. But my fame was 
spread about in every place, and the qualities which 
I could do, in so much that my master was renowned 
throughout all the country by reason of me. For 
every man would say : " Behold the gentleman that 
hath an ass that will eat and drink with him, an ass 
that will box, an ass that will dance, an ass that 
understandeth what is said to him and will shew his 
fantasy by signs." 

But first I will tell you (which I should have done 
before) who my master was, and of what country. 
His name was Thiasus; he was born at Corinth, 
which is the principal town of all the province of 
Achaea ; he had passed all offices of honour in due 
course according as his birth and dignity required, 
and he should now take upon him the degree Quin- 
quennial 2 : and now to shew his worthiness to enter 
upon that office, and to purchase the benevolence of 
every person, he appointed and promised public joys 
and "triumphs of gladiators, to endure the space c 
three days. To bring his endeavour for tin- publ: 

i The single toss of the head backwards, which is still the 

T ^.wE! or chie. office 0. provLci.. 




studio tune Thessaliam etiara accesserat, nobilis- 
simas feras et famosos inde gladiatores comparaturus, 
iamque ex arbitrio dispositis coemptisque omnibus 
domuitionem parabat. Spretis luculentis illis suis vehi- 
culis ac posthabitis decoris raedarum carpentis, quae 
partim contecta, partim revelata, frustra novissimis 
trahebantur consequiis, equis etiam Thessalicis et aliis 
iumentis Gallicanis quibus generosa suboles perhibet 
pretiosam dignitatem, me phaleris aureis et fucatis 
ephippiis et purpureis tapetis et frenis argenteis et 
pictilibus balteis et tintinnabulis perargutis exor- 
natum ipse re$idens amantissime nonnunquam comis- 
simis afFatur sermonibus, atque inter alia pleraque 
summe se delectari profitebatur quod haberet in me 
19 simul et convivam et vectorem. Atubi partim terrestri, 
partim maritimo itinere confecto Corinthum accessi- 
mus, magnae civium turbae confluebant, ut mihi vide- 
batur, non tantum Thiasi dantes honori quam mei con- 
spectus cupientes : nam tanta etiam ibidem de me 
fama pervaserat, ut non mediocri quaestui praeposito 
illi meo fuerim. Qui cum multos videret nimio 
favore lusus meos spectare gestientes, obserata fore 
atque singulis eorum seorsus admissis, stipes ac- 
ceptans non parvas summulas diurnas corradere 

Fuit in illo conventiculo matrona quaedam pollens 
et opulens, quae more ceterorum visum meum mer- 
cata ac dehinc multiformibus ludicris delectata per 
admirationem assiduam paulatim in admirabilem mei 
cupidinem incidit, nee ullam vesanae libidini medelam 


favour to pass, he came into Thessaly to buy excel- 
lent beasts and valiant fighters for the purpose, and 
now when he had bought such things as were neces- 
sary, and was about returning home, he would not 
journey into his country in his fine chariots or splen- 
did wagons, which travelled behind him in the rear, 
some covered and some open, neither would he ride 
upon Thessalian horses, or gcnnets of France, which 
be most excellent (by reason of their long descent) 
that can be found ; but caused me to be garnished 
and trimmed with trappings of gold, with brave 
harness, with purple coverings, with a bridle of 
silver, with pictured clothes, and with shrilling 
bells, and in this manner he rode upon me lovingly, 
speaking and entreating me with gentle words, but 
above all things he did greatly rejoice, in that I was 
at once his servant to bear him upon my back, and 
his companion to feed with him at the table. After 
a long time when we had travelled as well by H ;i > 
land, and fortuned to arrive at Corinth, the people 
of the town came about us on every side, not so 
much to do honour unto Thiasus as to see me : for 
my fame was so greatly spread there, that I gained 
mv master much money : for when the people was 
desirous to see me play pranks, he caused the gates 
to be shut, and such as'entered in should pay money ; 
by means whereof I was a profitable companion to 
him every day. 

There fortuned to be amongst the assembly a noble 
and rich matron, that after that she had paid her 
due to behold me was greatly delighted with all my 
tricks and qualities, in so much that she fell marvel- 
lously in love with me, and could find no remedy t. 
her passions and disordinate appetite, but continual 
desired to have her pleasure with me, like a n 



capiens ad instar asinariae Pasiphaae complexus meos 
ardenter expectabat. Grand! denique praemio cum. 
altore meo depecta est noctis unius concubitum : at 
ille nequam, qua posset de me suave provenire, lucro 

20 suo tantum contentus, annuit. lam denique cenati 
e triclinio domini decesseramus, et iamdudum prae- 
stolantem cubiculo meo matronam offendimus. Dii 
boni, qualis ille quamque praeclarus apparatus ! 
Quattuor eunuchi confestim pulvillis compluribus 
ventose tumentibus pluma delicata terrestrem nobis 
cubitum praestruimt, sed et stragula veste auro ac 
murice Tyrio depicta probe consternunt, ac desuper 
brevibus admodum sed satis copiosis puluillis aliis 
nimis mollibus, 1 quis maxillas et cervices delicatae 
mulieres suffulcire consuerunt, superstruunt. Nee 
dominae voluptates diutina sua praesentia morati 
clausis cubiculi foribus facessunt : at intus cerei prae- 
clara micantes luce nocturnas nobis tenebras inalba- 

21 bant. Tune ipsa cuncto prorsus spoliata tegmine, 
taenia quoque qua decoras devinxerat papillas, lumen 
propter assistens de stagneo vasculo multo sese per- 
ungit oleo balsameo, meque indidem largissime per- 
fricat, sed multo tanto impensius curans etiam nares 
perfundit meas. 2 Tune exosculata pressule, non qualia 
in lupanari solent basiola iactari vel meretricum 
poscinummia vel adventorum negantinummia, sed 
pura atque sincera, instruit, et blandissimos affatus : 
" Amo/' et " Cupio," et " Te solum diligo," et " Sine 
te iam vivere nequeo/' et cetera quis mulieres et 
alios inducunt et suas testantur affectationes ; capis- 
troque me prehensum more quo didiceram reclinat 
facile, quippe cum nil novi nihilque difficile facturus 
mihi viderer, praesertim post tantum temporis tarn 
formosae mulieris cupientis amplexus obiturus : nam 

l So Helm for the MSS' modicis. 9 See Note, p. 5y6. 


Pasiphae, but with an ass. In the end she promised 
a great reward to my keeper for the custody of me 
one night, who cared for naught but for gain of a 
little money, and accorded to her desire. When 
therefore I had supped in a parlour with my master, 
we departed away and went into our chamber, where 
we found the fair matron, who had tarried a great 
space for our coming. Good God, how nobly all 
things there were prepared ! there were four eunuchs 
that laid a bed of billowing down on the ground with 
bolsters accordingly for us to lie on ; the coverlet wa 
of cloth of gold and Tyrian dye, and the pillows small, 
but soft and tender, as whereon delicate matrons 
accustom to lay their heads. Then the eunuchs, 
not minding to delay any longer the pleasure 
of their mistress, closed the doors of the chamber 
and departed away ; and within the chamber were wax 
candles that made light the darkness of the night all 
the place over. Then she put off all her garments to 
her naked skin, yea even the veil of her bosom, and 
standing next the lamp began to anoint all her body 
with balm, and mine likewise, but especially my nose ; 
which done, she kissed me, not as they accustom 
to do at the stews or in brothel-houses, or in t 
courtesan schools for gain of money, but purely, 
sincerely, and with great affection, casting out these 
and like loving words: "Thou art he : whom I love 
"Thou art he whom I only desire, "Without thee 
I cannot live," and other like preamble of I 
women can use well enough when they mind 
shew or declare their burning passions and gr 
affection of love. Then she took me by the h 
and cast me upon the bed, which was nothing strange 
unto me considering that she was so beautiful 
malrTand I so will blown out with, and 


et vino pulcherrimo atque copioso memet made- 
feceram et unguento fragrantissimo prolubium libi- 

22 dinis suscitaram. Sed angebar plane non exili metu, 
reputans quemadmodum tantis tamque magnis cruri- 
bus possem delicatam matronam inscendere, vel tam 
lucida tamque tenera et lacte ac melle confecta 
membra duris ungulis complecti, labiasque modicas 
ambrosio rore purpurantes tam amplo ore tamque 
enormi et saxeis dentibus deformi saviari, novissime 
quo pacto, quamquam ex unguiculis perpruriscens, 
mulier tam vastum genitale susciperet : lieu me qui 
dirupta nobili femina bestiis obiectus munus instruc- 
turus sim mei domini ! Molles interdum voculas et 
assidua savia et dulces gannitus commorsicantibus 
oculis iterabat ilia, et in summa " Teneo te," inquit 
" Teneo meum palumbulunr, meum passerem," et 
cum dicto vanas fuisse cogitationes meas ineptumque 
monstrat metum : artissime namque complexa totum 
me prorsus, sed totum recepit. Ilia vero, quotiens 
ei parcens nates recellebam, accedens totiens nisu 
rabid o et spinam prehendens meam appliciore nexu 
inhaerebat, ut Hercule etiam deesse mihi aliquid ad 
supplendam eius libidinem crederem, nee Mino- 
tauri tnatrem frustra delectatam putarem adultero 
mugiente. lamque operosa et pervigili nocte trans- 
acta, vitata lucis conscientia facessit mulier, condicto 

23 pari noctis futurae pretio. Nee gravate magister 
meus voluptates ex eius arbitrio largiebatur, partim 
mercedes amplissimas acceptando^ partim novum 
spectaculum domino praeparando : incunctanter ei 
denique libidinis nostrae totam detegit scaenam. 
At ille liberto magnifice munerato destinat me 
spectaculo publico : et quoniam neque egregia ilia 
uxor mea propter dignitatem neque prorsus ulla alia 



perfumed with balm, whereby I was readily prepared 
for the purpose. But nothing grieved me so much 
as to think how I should with my huge and great 
legs embrace so fair a matron, or how I should touch 
her fine, dainty, and silken skin made of milk and 
honey with my hard hoofs, or how it was possible to 
kiss her soft, her pretty and ruddy lips with my 
monstrous great mouth and stony teeth, or how she, 
who was so young and tender, could receive my love. 
And I verily thought if I should hurt the woman by 
any kind of means, I should be thrown out to the 
wild beasts : but in the mean season she spoke gently 
to me, kissing me oft, and looked on me with burning 
eyes, saying : " I hold thee my cony, I hold thee my 
nops, my sparrow," and therewithal she shewed me 
that all my fear was vain, for she oft-times embraced 
my body round about, and had her pleasure with me, 
whereby I thought the mother of Minotaurus did 
not causeless quench her inordinate desire with a 
bull. 1 When night was passed, with much joy and 
small sleep, the matron went away, avoiding the 
light of day, so that she might not be seen, and 
bargained with my keeper for another night : whicl 
he willingly granted, partly for gain of money, and 
partly to find new pastime for my master, 
he was informed of all the history of my luxury, was 
right glad, and rewarded my keeper well for his pa! 
mtnding to shew in the public theatre what I could 
do; but because they would not suffer that noble 
wife of mine to abide such shame, by reason of 
dignity, and because they could find no other 

i In a note referring to the whole of this P^f ^dlington 
writes "Here I have left out certain \wtpropterfunetMem 
ta which his modesty i. much to be commended, and will 
here be followed. 


inveniri potuerat grand! praemio, vilis anquiritur 
aliqua sententia praesidis bestiis ad dicta, quae mecum 
incoram publicam populi caveam frequentaret. Eius 
poenae talem cognoveram fabulam : 

Maritum habuit, cuius pater peregre proficiscens 
mandavit uxori suae, matri eiusdem iuvenis (quod 
enini sarcina praegnationis oneratam earn relinquebat) 
ut si sexus sequioris edidisset fetum, protinus quod 
esset editum necaretur. At ilia, per absentiam mariti 
nata puella, insita matribus pietate praeventa, descivit 
ab obsequio mariti, eamque prodidit vicinis alumnan- 
dam, regressoque iam marito natam necatamque 
nuntiavit. Sed ubi flos aetatis nuptialem virgini 
diem flagitabat, nee ignaro marito dotare filiam pro 
natalibus quibat, quod solum potuit, filio suo taciturn 
secretum aperuit: nam et oppido verebatur ne quo 
casu caloris iuvenalis impetu lapsus nescius nesciam 
sororem incurreret. Sed pietatis spectatae iuvenis 
et matris obsequium et sororis officium religiose dis- 
pensat et, arcanis domus venerabilis silentii custodiae 

i Adlington here inserts in his text an explanation which 
is not in the Latin, but is convenient for following the thread 



would suffer even for a great reward so great a 
reproach, at length they obtained for money an evil 
woman, which was condemned to be eaten of wild 
beasts, with whom I should be set in a cage before the 
people. But first J will tell you what a tale I heard 
concerning her. 

This woman had a husband whose father, minding 
to ride forth, commanded his wife, the young man's 
mother, which he left at home great with child, 
that if she were delivered of a daughter, it should 
incontinently be killed. Now when the time of her 
delivery came, it fortuned that she had a daughter 
born while her husband was still abroad, whom she 
would not suffer to be slain, by reason of the natural 
affection which she bare unto her child, but declined 
from the command of her husband and secretly 
committed her to one of her neighbours to nurse. 
And when her husband returned home, she declared 
unto him that she was delivered of a daughter, whom, 
as he commanded, she had caused to be put to death. 
But when this child came to the flower of her age, 
and was ready to be married, the mother knew not 
by what means she should endow her daughter 
without that her husband should understand and 
perceive it. Wherefore she could do naught hut 
discover the matter to her son, 1 as a secret greatly 
to be hidden and kept dark ; for she greatly feared 
lest he should unawares be urged by the natural heat 
of youth and fancy or fall in love with his own sitter. 
The young man understanding the whole matter 
did (according to his known and proved piety) 
perform both his duty to his mother and his uatura. 
obligation towards his sister ; for he kept t 
of the story-that the son "was the husband of this wornai 
condemned to be eaten of wild beasts. 


traditis, plebeiam facie tenus praetendens humanita- 
tem,, sic necessarium sanguinis sui munus aggreditur, 
ut desolatam vicinam puellam parentumque praesidio 
viduatam domus suae tutela receptaret, ac mox artis- 
simo multumque sibi dilecto contubernali, largitus 
24 de proprio dotem liberalissime traderet Sed haec 
bene atque optime plenaque cum sanctimonia dis- 
posita feralem Fortunae nutum latere non potuerunt, 
cuius instinctu domum iuvenis protinus se direxit 
saeva rivalitas, et illico haec eadem uxor eius, quae 
nunc bestiis propter haec ipsa fuerat addicta, coepit 
puellam velut aemulam tori succubamque primo sus- 
picari, dehinc detestari, dehinc crudelissimis laqueis 
mortis insidiari : tale denique comminiscitur facinus. 
Annulo mariti surrepto rus profecta mittit quen- 
dam servulum, sibi quidem fidelem sed de ipsa fide 
pessime merentem, qui puellae nuntiaret quod earn 
iuvenis profectus ad villulam vocaret ad sese, addito 
ut sola et sine ullo comite quam maturissime perven- 
iret : et ne qua forte nasceretur veniendi cunctatio, 
tradit annulum marito subtractum, qui monstratus 
fidem verbis adstipularetur. At ilia mandatu fratris 
obsequens (hoc enim nomen sola sciebat) respecto 
etiam signo eius quod offerebatur, naviter, ut prae- 
ceptum fuerat, incomitata festinat. Sed ubi fraudis 

utterly secret in his heart, feigning that he had 
towards her no more than common human kindness, 
and so performed the due offices of kinship and' 
blood that he feigned that she was a neighbour's 
daughter desolate both of father and mother, that he 
would take her into the protection of his own house, 
and incontinently after endowed her largely with 
part of his own goods, and would have married 
her to one of his especial and trusty friends. But 
although he brought this to pass very religiously and 
sagely, yet in the end none of them could avoid the 
decree of cruel and envious fortune, which sowed great 
sedition in his house. For his wife (who was now for 
this condemned to beasts) waxed jealous of her 
husband, and began to suspect and then to hate the 
young woman as a harlot and common quean, in so 
much that she invented all manner of cruel snares 
to dispatch her out of the way : and in the end she 
invented this kind of mischief. 

She privily stole away her husband's ring, and 
went into the country, whereas she commanded one 
of her servants that was trusty to her, but otherwise 
a faithless varlet, to take the ring and to carry it to 
the maiden : to whom he should declare that her 
brother did pray her to come into the country to him, 
and that she should come alone, as soon as she might, 
without any other person. And to the end she 
should not delay, but come with all speed, he did 
deliver her the ring, to be a sufficient testimony of 
his message. The maiden, being very willing and 
desirous to obey his commandment (for she alone 
kfiew that he was her brother) and out of respei t 
also for his signet, went in all haste alone as the 
messenger willed her to do. But when she was 
fallen into the snare and engine which was prepared 



extremae lapsa decipulo laqueos insidiarum accessit, 
tune ilia uxor egregia sororem mariti libidinosae furiae 
stimulis efferata primum quidem nudam flagris ultime 
verberat, dehinc, quod res erat, clamantem, quodque 
frustra paelicatus indignatione bulliret, fratrisque no- 
men saepius iterantem, velut mentitam atque cuncta 
fingentem titione candenti inter media femina de- 
truso crudelissime necavit. 

25 Tune acerbae mortis exciti nuntiis frater et maritus 
accurrunt, variisque lamentationibus defletam puellam 
tradunt sepulturae. Nee iuvenis sororis suae mortem 
tarn miseram et a qua 1 minime par erat illatam aequo 
tolerare quivit animo. sed medullitus dolore commo- 
tus acerrimaeque bilis noxio furore perfusus exin 
flagrantissimis febribus ardebat, ut ipsi quoque iam 
medela videretur necessaria. Sed uxor, quae iam- 
pridem nomen uxoris cum fide perdiderat, medicum 
convenit quendam notae perfidiae, qui iam multarum 
palmarum spectatus proeliis magna dexterae suae 
tropaea numerabat, eique protinus quinquaginta pro- 
mittit sestertia, ut ille quidem momentarium vene- 
num venderet, ipsa autem emeret mortem mariti sui. 
Quo confecto simulatur necessaria praecordiis lenien- 
dis bilique subtrahendae ilia praenobilis potio, quam 
sacram doctiores nominant, sed in eius vice 
1 MSS quae : a qua is the suggestion of Scioppius. 


for her with such infinite cunning, the mischievous 
woman, like one that were mad and possessed with 
some ill spirit, did strip her husband's sister and 
scourge her first with rods from top to toe ; and 
when the poor maiden called for help with a loud 
voice and declared the truth of the matter, declaring 
that he was her brother, the wicked harlot 
(boiling with jealousy and weening that she had 
invented and feigned the matter) took a burning 
firebrand and thrust it betwixt her thighs, wherein- 
she died miserably. 

He that should be the husband of this maiden, 
but especially her brother, advertised of her cruel 
death, came to the place where she was slain, and 
after great lamentation and weeping they caused her 
to be buried honourably. The young man, her brother, 
taking in ill part the miserable death of his M-ICT. 
and especially the unnatural source whence it came, as 
it was convenient he should, conceived so great dolour 
within his mind, and was stricken with so pestilent 
fury of bitter anguish, that he fell into the burning 
passions of a dangerous ague; whereby he seemed in 
such necessity that he needed to have some speedy 
remedy to save his life. The woman that slew the 
maiden, having lost the name of wife together with 
her faith, went to a certain traitorous physician, who 
could number many such triumphs as the work ot 
his hands, and promised him fifty pieces of gold if 
he would sell her a present poison that slit: might 
buy the death of her husband out of hand. This 
done, in presence of her husband she feigned that it 
was necessary for him to receive a certain kind >f 
drink, which the masters and dot-tors of physic do 
call a sacred potion, to the intent he might purge 
colour and scour the interior parts of his body. Hut 



subditur alia Proserpinae sacra Saluti. lamque 
praesente familia et nonnullis amicis et affinibus 
aegroto medicus poculum probe temperatum manu 
26 sua porrigebat Sed audax ilia mulier, ut simul et 
conscium sceleris amoliretur et quam desponderat 
pecuniam lucraretur, coram detento calice, " Non 
prius/' inquit " Medicorum optime, non prius caris- 
simo mihi marito trades istam potionem, quam de ea 
bonam partem hauseris ipse. Unde enim scio an 
noxium in ea lateat venenum ? Quae res utique te, 
tarn prudentem tamque doctum virum, nequaquam 
offendet, si religiosa uxor circa salutem raariti sol- 
licita necessarian! affero pietatem." Qua mira de- 
speratione truculentae feminae repente perturbatus 
medicus, excussusque toto consilio et ob angustiam 
temporis spatio cogitandi privatus, antequam trepi- 
datione aliqua vel cunctatione ipsa daret malae 
conscientiae suspicionem, indidem de potione gus- 
tavit ampliter : quam fidem secutus adolescens etiam, 
sumpto calice, quod ofFerebatur hausit. Ad istum 
modum praesenti transacto negotio medicus quam 
celerrime domum remeabat salutifera potione pestem 
praecedentis veneni festinans extinguere : nee eum 
obstinatione sacrilega, qua semel coeperat, truculenta 
mulier uiigue latius a se discedere passa est, " Prius- 


the physician, instead of that healthy drink, had pre- 
pared a mortal and deadly poison, that was rath, r 
sacred to the healing of the goddess of death, and 
when he had tempered it accordingly, he took the 
pot in presence of all the family and other nHgh- 
bours and friends of the sick young man, and oH-n-d 
it unto the patient. But the bold and hardy woman , 
to the end she might destroy him that was priw to 
her wicked intent, and also gain the money which 
she had promised the physician, stayed the pot with 
her hand, saying : " I pray you, master physician, 
minister not this drink unto my dear husband until 
such time as you have drank some good part thereof 
yourself. For what know I, whether you have 
mingled any poison in the drink or no ? Wherein 
I pray you not to be offended, for I know that you 
are a man of wisdom and learning, but this I do t<> 
the intent the conscience and love that I bear to 
the health and safeguard of my husband may !> 
apparent." The physician, being givatly troubled 
at the marvellous and stubborn wickedness of th<- 
mischievous woman, was void of all counsel and 
leisure to consider on the matter, and l<-st he 
might give any cause of suspicion to the standers- 
by, or shew any scruple of his guilty conscience, 
by reason of long delay, he took the pot in his 
hand and presently drank a good draught thereof: 
which done, the young man, having now n.. 
mistrust by this example, drank up the residue. 
When all this was finished the physician would tare 
gone immediately home to receive a counter- 1 
or antidote, to expel and drive out the first poison 
but the wicked woman, persevering in thr o-n t. 
mischief wherein she had begun, would not suffer 
him to depart one foot until such time (as she said) 



quam " inquit " Digesta potion e medicinae proventus 
appareat," sed aegre precibus et obtestationibus eius 
multum ac diu fatigata tandem abire concessit. 
Interdum perniciem caecam totis visceribus furentem 
medullae penitus attraxerant : multum denique 
saucius et gravedine somnulenta iam demersus 
domum pervadit aegerrime, vixque enarratis 
cunctis ad uxorem, mandate saltern promissam mer- 
cedem mortis geminatae deposceret, sic elisus 
violenter spectatissimus medicus effundit spiritum. 

27 Nee ille tamen iuvenis diutius vitam tenuerat, sed 
inter fictas mentitasque lacrimas uxoris pari casu 
mortis fuerat extinctus. lamque eo sepulto, paucis 
interiectis diebus, quis feralia mortuis litantur ob- 
sequia, uxor medici pretium geminae mortis petens 
aderat. Sed mulier usquequaque sui similis, fidei 
supprimens faciem, praetendens imaginem, blan- 
dicule respondit et omnia prolixe accumulateque 
pollicetur et statutum pi-aemium sine mora se red- 
dituram constitute, modo pauxillum de ea potione 
largiri sibi vellet ob incepti negotii persecutionem. 
Quid pluribus ? Laqueis fraudium pessimarum uxor 
inducta medici facile conseiisit, et quo se gratiorem 
iocupleti feminae faceret, properiter domo petitam 
totam prorsus veneni pyxidem mulieri tradidit : 
quae grandem scelemm nancta materiam longe 

28 lateque cruentas suas manus porrigit. Habebat 
filiam parvulam de marito quern nuper necaverat: 
huic infantulae quod leges necessarian! patris suc- 


as the potion should have begun to work, and its 
healthy effect be apparent ; and then by much 
prayer and intercession she licensed him to go 
home. By the way the poison invaded the entrails 
and bowels of the whole body of the physician, in 
such sort that with great pain and growing heaviness 
he came to his own house : where he had scarce time 
to tell all to his wife, and to will her at least to 
receive the promised salary of the death of two 
persons, but this notable physician was violently 
convulsed and yielded up the ghost. 

The young man also lived not long after, but 
likewise died, amongst the feigned and deceitful 
tears of his cursed wife. A few days after, when 
the young man was buried and the accustomed 
funerals and dirges ended, the physician's wife 
demanded of her the fifty pieces of gold which she 
promised for the double murder ; whereat the ill- 
disposed woman, keeping still that same constancy 
in wickedness, with resemblance of honesty (for all 
real honesty she had cast away) answered her with 
gentle words, and made her large promises, particu- 
larly that she would presently give her the fifty 
pieces of gold, if she would fetch her a little 
of that same drink to proceed and make an 
end of all her enterprise. Then, in short, the 
physician's wife was caught in the snare of these 
wicked deceits, and to win the further favour of this 
rich woman ran incontinently home, and brought her 
the whole pot of poison ; which when she saw, having 
now occasion to execute her further malice, she bepm 
to stretch out farther her bloody hands to murder. 
She had a little young daughter by her husband that 
was poisoned, who, according to order of law w 
appointed heir of all the lands and goods of her 



cessionem deferrent, sustinebat aegerrime, inhians- 
que toto filiae patrimonio imminebat et capiti. 
Ergo certa defunctorum liberorum matres sceleratas 
hereditates excipere, talem parentem praebuit 
qualem exhibuerat uxorem, pi-andioque commento 
pro tempore et uxorem medici simul et suam filiam 
veneno eodem percutit. Sed parvulae quidem 
tenuem spiritum et delicata ac tenera praecordia 
conficit protinus virus infestum ; at uxor medici, 
dum noxiis ambagibus pulmones eius pererrat tem- 
pestas detestabilis potionis, primum suspicata quod 
res erat, mox urgente spiritu iam certo certior con- 
tendit ad ipsam praesidis domum, magnoque fidem 
eius protestata clamore et populi concitato tumultUj 
utpote tarn immania detectura flagitia, efficit statim 
sibi simul et domus et aures praesidis patefierent. 
lamque ab ipso exordio crudelissimae mulieris cunctis 
atrocitatibus diligenter expositis, repente mentis 
nubilo turbine correptasemihiantes adhuc compressit 
labias, et attritu dentium longo stridore reddito, ante 
ipsos praesidis pedes exanimis corruit. Nee ille, vir 
alioquin exercitus, tarn multiforme facinus excetrae 
venenatae dilatione languida passus marcescere, con- 
festim cubiculariis mulieris attractis vi tormentorum 


father ; but this she bore very hard, and lusting after 
all the child's heritage, she determined to sky it. 
So knowing that mothers succeed their children 
after such a crime, and receive all their goods after 
their death, she purposed to shew herself a like 
parent to her child as she was a wife to her husband. 
Whereupon at a convenient season she prepared a 
dinner with her own hands, and poisoned both the 
wife of the physician and her own daughter. The 
child, being young and tender, died incontinently by 
the deadly force of the drink ; but the physician's 
wife, being stout and of strong complexion, feeling 
the strong poison creep down into her body and 
wander through her vitals, at first doubted the 
matter ; and then, by her labouring breath knowing 
of certainty that she had received her bane, ran 
forthwith to the judge's house, and what with her 
cries as she called upon him and all her exclamations, 
she raised up the people of the town, and promising 
them to reveal and shew divers wicked and mis- 
chievous acts, caused that both the doors and ears of 
the judge were opened. When she came in, she 
declared from the beginning to the end the abomi- 
nation of this woman ; but she had scarce ended her 
tale, when a whirling cloud and giddiness sri/.rd 
upon her mind in a fit, and shutting fast her falling 
lips, and grinding her teeth together, she fell down 
dead before the face of the judge. He, that was 
ready and prudent man, incontinently would try t 
truth of the matter, and would not suffer the rm 
of this wicked woman, more venomous 
serpent by long delays to remain hidden and un- 
punished, but caused the cursed woman's servants to 
be nulled out of the house and enforced by pain o 
torment to confess the verity ; which being knov 



veritatem eruit, atque illam, minus quidem quam 
merebatur, sed quod dignus cruciatus alius excogitari 
non poterat, certe bestiis obiciendam pronuntiavit. 
29 Talis mulieris publicitus matrimonium confar- 
reaturus ingentique angore oppido suspensus ex- 
pectabam diem muneris, saepius quidem mortem 
mihimet volens consciscere, priusquam scelerosae 
mulieris contagio macularer vel infamia public! 
spectaculi depudescerem : sed privatus humana 
manu, privatus digitis, ungula rotunda atque mutila 
gladium stringere nequaquam poteram. Plane tenui 
specula solabar clades ultimas, quod ver in ipso ortu 
iam gemmulis floridis cuncta depingeret et iam 
purpureo nitore prata vestiret, et commodum dirupto 
spineo tegmine spirantes cinnameos odores promi- 
carent rosae, quae me priori meo Lucio redderent. 

Dies ecce muneri destinatus aderat ; ad con- 
saeptum caveae prosequente populo pompatico 
favore deducor : ac dum ludicris scaenicorum choreis 
primitiae spectaculi dedicantur, tantisper ante por- 
tam constitutus pabulum laetissimi graminis, quod in 
ipso germinabat aditu, libens affectabam, subinde 
curiosos oculos patente porta spectaculi prospectu 
gratissimo reficiens. Nam puelli puellaeque virenti 
florentes aetatula, forma conspicui, veste nitidi, 


this mischievous woman, far less than she deserved, 
but because there could be no more cruel death 
invented for the quality of her offence, was con- 
demned by him to be eaten of wild beasts. 

Behold with this woman was I appointed to have 
to do in wedlock before the face of all the people ; 
but I, being wrapped in great anguish, and fearing 
the day of the triumph, when we two should so 
abandon ourselves together, devised rather to slay 
myself than pollute my body with this mischievous 
harlot, and so be defamed as a public sight and 
spectacle. But it was impossible for me to do this, 
considering that I lacked human hands, I lacked 
fingers, and I was not able to draw a sword with my 
hoofs being round and short ; howbeit I did console 
myself for this utter misfortune with a small ray of 
hope, for I rejoiced in myself that springtime was 
come and was now making all things bright with 
flourishing buds, and clothing the meadows very 
brightly, so that I was in good hope to find some 
roses now bursting through from their thorny coats 
and breathing forth their fragrant odours, to render 
me to my human shape that I had before as Lucius. 

When the day of the triumph came,Iwas led with 
great pomp and magnificence to the theatre, whither 
when I was brought, I first saw the preamble of the 
triumph, dedicated with dances and merry taunting 
jests. In the mean season I was placed before the 
gate of the theatre, where on the one side I saw the 
green and fresh grass growing before the entry 
thereof, whereon I did gladly feed ; and sometimes 
I conceived a great delectation when I saw, when 
the theatre gates were opened, how all things were 
finely prepared and set forth ; for there I might see 
young boys and maidens in the flower of their youth, 


incessu gestuosi, Graecanicam saltaturi Pyrrhicam 
dispositis ordinationibus decoros ambitus inerrabant, 
nunc in orbem rotatum flexuosi, nunc in obliquam 
seriem connexi et in quadratum patorem cuneati et 
in catervae discidium separati. At ubi discursus 
reciproci multinodas ambages tubae terminalis 
cantus explicuit, aulaeo subducto et complicitis 
siparis scaena disponitur. 

30 Erat mons ligneus ad instar incliti mentis illius 
quern vates Homerus Idaeum cecinit, sublimi in- 
structus fabrica, consitus virectis et vivis arboribus, 
summo cacumine de manibus fabri fonte man- 
ante^ fluviales aquas eliquans. Capellae pauculae 
tondebant herbulas, et in modum Paridis Phrygii 
pastoris barbaricis amiculis humeris defluentibus 
pulchre indusiatus adolescens, aurea tiara contecto 
capite, pecuarium simulabat magisterium. Adest 
luculentus puer nudus, nisi quod ephebica chlamida 
sinistrum tegebat humerum, flavis crinibus usque- 
quaque conspicuus, et inter comas eius aureae 
pinnulae cognatione simili sociatae prominebant, 
quern caduceum et virgula Mercurium indicabant. 
Is saltatorie procurrens malumque bracteis inauratum 
dextra gerens, ei qui Paris videbatur porrigit, quid 


of excellent beauty and attired gorgeously, dancing 
and moving in comely order, according to the dis- 
position of the Grecian Pyrrhic dance; for sometime 
they would trip round together, sometime in length 
obliquely, sometime divide themselves in four parts, 
and sometime loose hands and group them on every 
side. But when the last sound of the trumpet gave 
warning that every man should retire to his place 
from those knots and circlings about, then was the 
curtain taken away and all the hangings rolled apart, 
and then began the triumph to appear. 

First there was a hill of wood, not much unlike 
that famous hill which the poet Homer called Ida, 
reared up exceeding high and garnished about with 
all sort of green verdures and lively trees, from the 
top whereof ran down a clear and fresh fountain, 
made by the skilful hands of the artificer, distilling 
out waters below. There were there a few young 
and tender goats, plucking and feeding daintily on 
the budding grass, and then came a young man, a 
shepherd representing Paris, richly arrayed with 
vestments of barbary, 1 having a mitre of gold upon 
his head, and seeming as though he kept the goats. 
After him ensued another fair youth all naked, 
saving that his left shoulder was covered with a rich 
cloak such as young men do wear, and his head 
shining with golden hair, and as it hung down you 
might perceive through it two little wings of gold ; 
and him the rod called Caduceus and the wand did 
shew to be Mercury. He bare in his right hand An 
apple of gold, and with a seemly and dancing gait 
went towards him that represented Paris, and after 
that he had delivered him the apple, he made a sign 

i i.e. un-Greek. Paris would naturally be represented in 
Phrygian costume. 



mandaret luppiter nutu significans, et protinus 
gradum scitule referens e conspectu facessit. Inse- 
quitur puella vultu honesta in deae lunonis speciem 
similis ; nam et caput stringebat diadema Candida, 
ferebat et sceptrum Irrupit alia quara putares 
Minervam, caput contecta fulgenti galea (et oleaginea 
corona tegebatur ipsa galea) clypeum attollens et 
31 hastam quatiens et qualis ilia cum pugnat. Super 
has introcessit alio visendo decore praepollens, gratia 
coloris ambrosei designans Venerem, qualis fuit Venus 
cum fuit virgo, nudo et intecto corpore perfectam 
formositatem professa, nisi quod teiiui pallio bomby- 
cino inumbrabat spectabilem pubem : quam quidem 
laciniam curiosulus ventus satis amanter nunc lasci- 
viens reflabat, ut dimota pateret flos aetatulae, nunc 
luxurians aspirabat, ut adhaerens pressule membrorum 
voluptatem graphice deliniaret. Ipse autem color 
deae diversus in speciem, corpus candidum quod 
caelo demeat, amictus caerulus quod mari remeat. 
lam singulas virgines, quae deae putabantur, sui 
sequebantur l comites, lunonem quidem Castor et 
Pollux, quorum capita cassides ovatae stellarum 
apicibus insignes contegebant, sed et isti Castores 
erant scaenici pueri : haec puella varios modulos 

i These two words are inserted by Helm. Some verb has 
dropped out of the text. 

a I can hardly believe that quod mari renieat can mean, as 
has usually been suggested, " because she came from the sea." 
A preposition would surely be required before mari, and the 
contrast between demeat and remeat would be lost. The 



signifying that Jupiter had commanded him so to do, 
and when he had done his message, he departed 
very gracefully away. By and by behold there 
approached a fair and comely maiden, not much 
unlike to Juno ; for she had a white diadem upon 
her head, and in her hand she bare a regal sceptre ; 
then followed another resembling Minerva, for she 
had on her head a shining helmet, whereon wa* 
bound a garland made of olive-branches, having in 
one hand a target or shield, and in the other 
shaking a spear as when she would fight. Thru caim 
another, which passed the others in beauty, and 
represented the goddess Venus with the colour 
of ambrosia : but Venus when she was a maiden, 
and to the end she would shew her perfect . 
she appeared all naked, saving that her fine and 
comely middle was lightly covered with a thin silken 
smock, and this the wanton wind blew hither and 
thither, sometime lifting it to testify the youth and 
flower of her age, and sometime making it to cling 
close to her to shew clearly the form and figure of 
her members ; her colour was of two sorts, for her 
body was white, as descended from heaven, and 
her smock was bluish, as returning" to the sea. 
After every one of these virgins which seemed 
goddesses, followed certain waiting servants ; Castor 
and Pollux played by boys of the theatre went 
behind Juno, having on their heads round pointed 
helmets covered with stars ; this virgin Juno in the 
Ionian manner sounded a flute which she bare in h< 

allusion here is not to the miraculous birth of Veiiu* from 
the foam, but to the fact that her ordinary bom.- (cf. I > l\ . 
ch. 81) is in the sea: in the present instance th, make-up 
of the girl who is takinp her part suggests both her heavei 
origin and her marine abiding-place. 

2 L ^*y 


lastia concinente tibia procedens quieta et inaffectata 
gesticulatione nutibus honestis pastori pollicetur, si 
sibi praemium decoris addixisset, et sese regnum 
totius Asiae tributuram. At illam quam cultus armo- 
rum Minervam fecerat duo pueri muniebant, proe- 
liaris deae comites avmigeri, Terror et Metus, nudis 
insultantes gladiis : at pone tergum tibicen Dorium 
canebat bellicosum et permiscens bombis gravibus 
tinnitus acutos in modum tubae saltationis agilis 
vigorem suscitabat : haec inquieto capite et oculig 
in aspectum mmacibus, citato et intorto genei-e gesti- 
culationis alacer demonstrabat Paridi^ si sibi formae 
victoriam tradidisset, fortem tropaeisque bellorum 
32 inclitiun suis adminiculis futurum. Venus ecce cum 
magno favore caveae in ipso meditullio scaenae, 
circumfuso populo laetissimorum parvulorum, dulce 
surridens constitit amoene : illos teretes et lacteos 
puellos diceres tu Cupidines veros de caelo vel 
mari commodum involasse ; nam et pinnulis et 
sagittulis et habitu cetero formae praeclare congrue- 
bant, et velut nuptiales epulas obiturae dominae 
coruscis praelucebant facibus. Et influunt innuptarum 
puellarum decorae suboles : hinc Gratiae gratissimae, 
inde Horae pulcherrimae, quae iaculis floris serti et 
soluti deam suam propitiantes scitissimum construxe- 
rant chorum, dominae voluptatum veris coma blan- 


hand, and moved herself quickly and with unaffected 
gait towards the shepherd Paris, shewing by honest 
signs and tokens and promising that he should be 
Lord of all Asia if he would judge her the fairest of 
the three, and give her the apple of gold. The other 
maiden, which seemed by her armour to be Minerva, 
was accompanied with two young men, armed and 
brandishing their naked swords in their hands, 
whereof one was named Terror, and the other Fear ; 
and behind them approached one sounding his flute 
in the Dorian manner, now with shrill notes and now 
with deep tones to provoke and stir the dancers as 
the trumpet stirreth men to battle : this maiden 
began to dance and shake her head, throwing her 
fierce and terrible eyes upon Paris, and promising 
that if it pleased him to give her the victory of 
beauty, she would make him by her protection the 
most strong and victorious man alive. Then came 
Venus and presented herself, smiling very sweetly, 
in the middle of the theatre, with much favour of 
all the people. She was accompanied with a great 
number of little boys, whereby you would have 
judged them to be all Cupids, so plump and fair 
were they, and either to have flown from heaven or 
else from the river of the sea, for they had little 
wings and little arrows, and the residue of their habit 
according in each point, and they bare in their hands 
torches lighted, as though it had been the day and 
feast of marriage of their lady. Then came in a great 
multitude of fair maidens : on the one side were t 
most comely Graces; on the other side the mo 
beautiful Seasons, carrying garlands and loose flower 
which they strewed before her; and they dance 
very nimbly therewith, making great honour t 
goddess of pleasure with these flowers of the sprr 

0*5 1 


dientes. lam tibiae multiforabiles cantus Lydios 
dulciter consonant : quibus spectatorum pectora suave 
mulcentibus, longe suavior Venus placide commoveri 
cunctantique lente vestigio et leiiiter fluctuante 
spinula et sensim annutante capite coepit incedere, 
mollique tibiarum sono delicatis respondere gestibus 
et nunc mite conniventibus, nunc acre comminanti- 
bus gestire pupulis et nonnunquam saltare solis ocu- 
lis. Haec ut priraum ante iudicis conspectum facta 
est, nisu brachiorum polliceri videbatur, si fuisset 
deabus ceteris antelata, daturam se nuptam Paridi 
forma praecipuam suique similem : tune animo volenti 
Phrygius iuvenis malum quod tenebat aureum, velut 
victoriae calculum, puellae tradidit. 

S3 Quid ergo miramini si 1 vilissima capita, immo foren- 
sia pecora, immo vero togati vulturii, si toti nunc iudi- 
cessententias suas pretionundinantur,cumrerumexor- 
dio inter deos et homines agitatum iudicium corruperit 
gratia, et originalem sententiam niagni lovis consiliis 
electus iudex rusticanus et opilio lucro libidinis ven- 
diderit cum totius etiam suae stirpis exitio ? Sic 
Hercule et aliud sequens iudicium inter inclitos 
Achivorum duces celebratum, vel cum falsis insimu- 
lationibus eruditione doctrinaque praepollens Pala- 
medes proditionis damnatur, vel cum virtute Martia 

i If the three following clauses are not to be taken aa 
vocatives (and there seems little point in calling the lawyers 
to marvel at their own degradation), it is necessary to insert 
here si, which is not found in the HSS. 


The flutes and pipes with their many stops 
yielded out the sweet sound of the Lydian strain 
whereby they pleased the minds of the standers-bv 
exceedingly; but the more pleasing Venus moved 
smoothly forwards more and more with slow and 
lingering steps, gently bending her body and movino. 
her head, answering by her motion 'and delicate 
gesture to the sound of the instruments : for some- 
times her eyes would wink gently with soft motions 
to the music, sometimes threaten and look fiercely, 
and sometimes she seemed to dance only with her 
eyes. As soon as she was come before the judge, 
she made a sign and token that if he would prefer 
her above the residue of the goddesses, she would 
give him the fairest spouse of all the world and 
one like to herself in every part. Then the young 
Phrygian shepherd Paris with a willing mind delivered 
to Venus the golden apple, which was the victory of 

Why then do ye marvel, if the lowest of the people, 
the lawyers, beasts of the courts.and advocates that are 
but vultures in gowns, 1 nay, if all our judges nowadays 
sell their judgements for money, when as in the begin- 
ning of tbe world one only bribe anil favour corrupted 
the sentence between gods and men, and that one 
rustical judge and shepherd, apjKmited by the counsel 
of the great Jupiter, sold his first judgement for a little 
pleasure, which was the cause afterwards of the ruin 
of all his kin ? By like manner of mean was another 
sentence given between the noble drerks; for the 
wise and excellently learned personage Palamedes 
was convicted and attainted of treason by false 

1 Apuleius seems to have entertained but a poor opinion of 
lawyers, perhaps as a result of the lawsuit which he de- 
scribes in his Apologia. 



praepotenti praefertur Ulixes raodicus Aiaci maximo. 
Quale autem et illud iudicium apud legiferos Athe- 
nienses catos illos et omnis scientiae magistros ? 
Nonne divinae prudentiae senex, quern sapientia 
praetulit cunctis mortalibus deus Delphicus, fraude 
et invidia nequissimae factionis circumventus velut 
corruptor adulescentiae, quam frenis cohercebat, her- 
bae pestilentis succo noxio peremptus est, relinquens 
civibus ignominiae perpetuae maculam, cum nunc 
etiam egregii philosophi sectam eius sanctissimam 
praeoptent et summo beatitudinis studio iurent in 
ipsius nomen ? Sed ne quis indignation is meae re- 
prehendat impetum, secum sic reputans : " Ecce nunc 
patiemur philosophantem nobis asinum/' rursus unde 
decessi revertar ad fabulam. 

34 Postquam finitum est illud Paridis iudicium, luno 
quidem cum Minerva tristes et iratis similes e scaena 
redeunt, indignationem repulsae gestibus professae ; 
Venus vero gaudens et hilaris laetitiam suam saltando 
toto cum choro professa est. Tune de summo montis 
cacumine per quandam latentem fistulam in excelsum 
prorumpit vino crocus diluta, sparsimque defluens 
pascentes circa capellas odoro perpluit imbre, donee 
in meliorem maculatae speciem canitiem propriam 
luteo colore mutarent : iamque tota suave fragrante 
cavea montem ilium ligneum terrae vorago decepit. 
Ecce quidam miles per mediam plateam dirigit 
cursum petiturus, iam populo postulante, illam de 
publico carcere mulierem, quam dixi propter multi- 
forme scelus bestiis esse damnatam meisque praeclaris 

persuasion and accusation, and Ulysses, being but of 
moderate valour, was preferred above great Ai-x of 
most martwl prowess. What judgementwasthere like- 
wise amongst the Athenian lawyers, sage and expert 
in all sciences? Was not the old man Socratefof 
divine wisdom, who was preferred by the god of 
Delphi above all the wise men of the world, by envy 
and malice of wicked persons empoisoned with the 
herb hemlock, as one that corrupted the youth of 
the country, whom in truth always he bridled and 
kept under by correction ? Thus did he leave to the 
men of Athens a stain and dishonour that shall never 
fade, for we see nowadays many excellent philosopher 
greatly desire to follow his sect, and for their per- 
petual study for happiness to swear by his name. 
But to the end I may not be reproved of indignation, 
by any one that might say : What, shall we suffer an 
ass to play the philosopher to us? " [ will return to 
my former purpose. 

After the judgement of Paris was ended, Juno and 
Pallas departed away sadly and angrily, shewing l>v 
their gesture that they were very wroth and would 
revenge themselves on Paris ; but Venus, that 
right pleased and glad in her heart, danced al>out 
the theatre with much joy, together with all her 
train. This done, from the top of the hill through a 
privy spout ran a flood of wine coloured with saffron, 
which fell upon the goats in a sweet-scented stream, 
and changed their white hair into yellow more fair : 
and then with a sweet odour to all them of the theatre. 
by certain engines the ground opened and swallowed 
up the hill of wood." Then behold there came a man 
of arms through the middle of the space, demanding 
by the commandment of the people the woman who 
for her manifold crimes was condemned to the beasts, 



nuptiis destinatam^ et iam torus genialis scilicet noster 
futums accuratissime disternebatur, lectus Indica 
testudine pellucidus, plumea congerie tumidus, veste 
serica floridus. At ego praeter pudorem obeundi 
publice concubitus, praeter contagium scelestae pol- 
lutaeque feminae, metu etiam mortis maxime crucia- 
bar, sic ipse mecum reputans, quod in amplexu venerio 
scilicet nobis cohaerentibus quaecumque ad exitium 
mulieris bestia fuisset immissa, non adeo vel prudentia 
sollers vel artificio docta vel abstinentia frugi posset 
provenire, ut adiacentem later! meo laceraret muli- 
erem, mihi vero quasi indemnato et innoxio parceret. 
35 Ergo igitur non de pudore iam sed de salute ipsa 
sollicitus, dum magister meus lectulo probe coaptando 
districtus inseruit et tota familia partim ministerio 
venationis occupata^ partim voluptario spectaculo 
attonita meis cogitationibus liberum tribuebatur 
arbitrium, nee magnopere quisquam custodiendum 
tarn mansuetum putabat asinum, paulatim furtivum 
pedem proferens portam, quae proxuma est, potitus, 
iam cursu me celerrimo proripio, sexque totis 
passman milibus perniciter confectis Cenchreas 
pervado, quod oppidum audit quidem nobilissimae 
coloniae Corinthiensium, alluitur autem Aegaeo 
et Saronico mari : inibi portus etiam tutissimum 
navium receptaculum magno frequentatur populo. 
Vitatis ergo turbulis et electo secreto litore prope 
ipsas fluctuum aspergines in quodam mollissimo 
harenae gremio lassum corpus porrectus refoveo : 
nam et ultiinam diei metam curriculum solis de- 
flexerat, et vespernae me quieti traditum dulcis 
soinnus oppresserat. 

and appointed for me to do in wedlock withal. 
Now was our bed finely and bravely prepared, shining 
with the tortoise-shell of Ind, rising with bolsters of 
feathers, and covered with silk and other things neces- 
sary ; but I, beside the shame to commit publicly this 
horrible fact and to pollute my body with this wicked 
harlot, did greatly fear the danger of death ; for I 
thought in myself, that when she and I were 
together, the savage beast appointed to devour the 
woman was not so instructed and taught or would so 
temper his greediness as that he would tear her in 
pieces at my side and spare me with a regard of 
mine innocency. Wherefore I was more careful for 
the safeguard of my life than for the shame that I 
should abide ; and in the mean season, while my 
master diligently made ready the bed, and all the 
residue did prepare themselves for the spectacle of 
hunting and delighted in the pleasantness of the 
triumph, I began to think and devise for myself; 
and when I perceived that no man had regard to me, 
that was so tame and gentle an ass, I stole secretly 
out of the gate that was next me, and then I ran 
away with all my force, and came after about six 
miles very swiftly passed to Cenchreae, which is the 
most famous town of all the Corinthians, bordering 
upon the seas called Aegean and Saronic. There is 
a great and mighty haven frequented with the ships 
of many a sundry nation, and there, because I would 
avoid the multitude of people, I went to a secret 
place of the sea-coast, hard by the sprinklings of the 
waves, where I laid me down upon the l>osom of the 
sand to ease and refresh myself; for now the day was 
past and the chariot of the sun gone down, and 1 
lying in this sort on the ground did fall in a sweet 
and sound sleep. 



1 CIRCA primam ferme noctis vigiliam, experrectus 
pavore subito, video praemicantis lunae candore 
nimio completum orbem commodum marinis emer- 
gentem fluctibus, nanctusque opacae noctis silentiosa 
secreta, certus etiam summatem deam praecipua 
maiestate pollere resque prorsus humanas ipsius 
regi providentia, nee tantum pecuina et ferina 
verum inanima etiam divino eius luminis numinisque 
nutu vegetari, ipsa etiam corpora terra caelo marique 
nunc incrementis consequenter augeri, nunc detri- 
mentis obsequehter iraminui, fato scilicet iam meis 
tot tantisque cladibus satiato et spem salutis, licet 
tardam, subministrante, augustum specimen deae 
praesentis statui deprecari, confestimque discussa 
pigra quiete alacer exsurgo meque protinus purifi- 
candi studio marino lavacro trado, septiesque sub- 
merso fluctibus capite, quod eum numerum prae- 
cipue religionibus aptissimum divinus ille Pythagoras 
prodidit^ laetus et alacer deam praepotentem lacri- 
moso vultu sic apprecabar : 


ABOUT the first watch oi the night, when as I had 
slept my first sleep, I awaked with sudden fear, and 
saw the moon shining bright as when she is at the 
full, and seeming as though she leaped out of the 
sea. Then I thought with myself that this was the 
most secret time, when that goddess had most puis- 
sance and force, considering that all human things 
be governed by her providence ; and that not only 
all beasts private and tame, wild and savage, be 
made strong by the governance of her light and god- 
head, but also things inanimate and without life ; 
and I considered that all bodies in the heavens, the 
earth, and the seas be by her increasing motions in- 
creased, and by her diminishing motions diminished : 
then as weary of all my cruel fortune and calamity, I 
found good hope and sovereign remedy, though it 
were very late, to be delivered of all my misery, by 
invocation and prayer to the excellent beauty of this 
powerful goddess. Wherefore shaking off my drowsy 
sleep I arose with a joyful face, and moved by a great 
affection to purify myself, I plunged my head seven 
times into the water of the sea ; which number of 
seven is convenable and agreeable to holy and 
divine things, as the worthy and sage philosopher 
Pythagoras hath declared. Then very lively and 
joyfully, though with a weeping countenance, I 
made this oration to the puissant goddess : 


2 " Regina caeli, sive tu Ceres alma frugum parens 

originalis, quae, repertu laetata filiae, vetustae glandis 
ferino remoto pabulo, miti commonstrato cibo, nunc 
Eleusiniam glebam percolis ; seu tu caelestis Venus, 
quae primis rerum exordiis sexuum diversitatem 
generate amore sociasti et aeterna subole humano 
genere propagate nunc circumfluo Paphi sacrario cole- 
ris; seu Phoebi soror, quae partu fetarum medelis 
lenientibus recreate populos tantos educasti praeclaris- 
que nunc veneraris delubris Ephesi; seu nocturnis 
ululatibus horrenda Proserpina triform! facie larvales 
impetus comprimens terraeque claustra cohibens,lucos 
diversos inerrans vario cultu propitiaris : ista luce fe- 
minea collustrans cuncta moenia et udis ignibus nu- 
triens laeta semina et solis ambagibus dispensans in- 
certa lumina quoquo nomine, quoquo ritu, quaqua 
facie te fas est invocare : tu meis iam nunc extremis 
aerumnis subsiste, tu fortunam collapsam affirma, tu 
saevis exanclatis casibus pausam pacemque tribue ; sit 

1 Diana was the goddess called upon by women in child- 
birth to help them and assuage their pains, as St. Margaret 
in later days. 



M O blessed queen of heaven, whether Thou be 
the Dame Ceres which art the original and motherly 
nurse of all fruitful things in the earth, who, after 
the finding of Thy daughter Proserpine, through the 
great joy which Thou didst presently conceive, didst 
utterly take away and abolish the food of them of 
old time, the acorn, and madest the barren and 
unfruitful ground of Eleusis to be ploughed and 
sown, and now givest men a more better and milder 
food ; or whether Thou be the celestial Venus, who, 
in the beginning of the world, didst couple together 
male and female with an engendered love, and didst 
so make an eternal propagation of human kind, 
being now worshipped within the temples of the 
Isle Paphos ; or whether Thou be the sister of the 
god Phoebus, who hast saved so many people by 
lightening and lessening with thy medicines the 
pangs of travail l and art now adored at the sacred 
places of Ephesus ; or whether Thou be called 
terrible Proserpine, by reason of the deadly howlings 
which Thou yieldest, that hast power with triple 
face to stop and put away the invasion of hags and 
ghosts which appear unto men, and to keep them 
down in the closures of the Earth, which dost wander 
in sundry groves and art worshipped in divers 
manners ; Thou, which dost luminate all the cities 
of the earth by Thy feminine light ; Thou, which 
nourishest all the seeds of the world by Thy damp 
heat, giving Thy changing light according to the 
wanderings, near or far, of the sun : by whatsoever 
name or fashion or shape it is lawful to call upon 
Thee, I pray Thee to end my great travaU and 
misery and raise up my fallen hopes, and deliver me 
from the wretched fortune which so long time 



satis laborum, sit satis periculorum. Depelle quadri- 
pedis diram faciem, redde me conspectui meorum, 
redde me meo Lucio : ac si quod offensum numen 
inexorabili me saevitia premit, mori saltern liceat, si 
non licet vivere." 

Ad istum modum fusis precibus etadstructis miseris 
lamentationibus, rursus mihi marcentem animum in 
eodem illo cubili sopor circumfusus oppressit. Necdum 
satis conniveram, et ecce pelago medio venerandos 
diis etiam vultus attollens emergit divina facies : ac 
dehinc paulatim toto corpore pellucidum simulacrum 
excusso pelago ante me constitisse visum est. Eius 
mirandam speciem ad vos etiam referre conitar, si ta- 
men mihi disserendi tribuerit facultatem paupertas 
oris humani, vel ipsum numen eius dapsilem copiam 
elocutilis facundiae subministraverit. lam primum 
crines uberrimi prolixique et sensim intorti per divina 
colla passive dispersi molliter defluebant. Corona 
multiformis variis floribus sublimem destrinxerat 
verticem, cuius media quidem super frontem plana 
rotunditas in modum speculi vel immo argumentum 
lunae candidum lumen emicabat, dextra laevaque 
sulcis insurgentium viperarum cohibita, spicis etiam 
Cerialibus desuper porrectis. Vestis 1 multicolor 
bysso tenui pertexta, nunc albo candore lucida, nunc 
croceo flore lutea,, nunc roseo rubore flammida, et, 
quae longe longeque etiam meum confutabat obtutum, 
palla nigerrima splendescens atro nitore, quae cir- 

1 A word or more has dropped out of the text. Bursian's 
vestis seems the simplest suggestion. 


pursued me. Grant peace and rest, if it please Thee, to 
my adversities, for I have endured enough labour and 
peril. Remove from me the hateful shape of mine 
ass, and render me to my kindred and to mine own 
self Lucius: and if I have offended in any point 
Thy divine majesty, let me rather die if I may not 

When I had ended this oration, discovering my 
plaints to the goddess, I fortuned to fall again asleep 
upon that same bed ; and by and by (for mine eyes 
were but newly closed) appeared to me from the midst 
of the sea a divine and venerable face, worshipped 
even of the gods themselves. Then, by little and little, 
I seemed to see the whole figure of her body, bright 
and mounting out of the sea and standing before me : 
wherefore I purpose to describe her divine semblance, 
if the poverty of my human speech will suffer me, 
or her divine power give me a power of eloquence 
rich enough to express it. First she had a great 
abundance of hair, flowing and curling, dispersed 
and scattered about her divine neck ; on the crown 
of her head she bare many garlands interlaced with 
flowers, and in the middle of her forehead was a 
plain circlet in fashion of a mirror, or rather 
resembling the moon by the light that it gave forth ; 
and this was borne up on either side by serpents 
that seemed to rise from the furrows of the earth, 
and above it were blades of corn set out. Her 
vestment was of finest linen yielding divers colours, 
somewhere white and shining, somewhere yellow 
like the crocus flower, somewhere rosy red, 
somewhere flaming ; and (which troubled my sight 
and spirit sore) her cloak was utterly dark and 
obscure covered with shining black, and being 



fcumcirca remeans et sub dexterum latus ad humerurrt 
laevum recurrens umbonis vicem cleiecta parte 
laciniae multiplici contabulatione dependula ad 
ultimas oras nodulis fimbriarum decoriter confluctua- 
4 bat. Per intextam extremitatem et in ipsa eius 
planitie stellae dispersae coruscabant, earumque 
media semenstris luna flammeos spirabat ignes : 
quaqua tamen insignis illius pallae perfluebat ambitus, 
individuo nexu corona totis floribus totisque constructa 
pomis adhaerebat. lam gestamina longe diversa : 
nam dextra quidem ferebat aereum crepitaculum, 
cuius per angustam laminam in modum baltei recur- 
vatam traiectae mediae paucae virgulae, crispante 
brachio trigeminos iactus, reddebant argutum sono- 
rem; laevae vero cymbium dependebat aureum, cuius 
ansulae, qua parte conspicua est, insurgebat aspis 
caput extollens arduum, cervicibus late tumescenti- 
bus. Pedes ambroseos tegebant soleae palmae victricis 
foliis intextae. Talis ac tanta, spirans Arabiae felicia 
germina, divina me voce dignata est : 

" En adsum tuis commota, Luci, precibus, rerum 
naturae parens, elementorum omnium domina, sae- 
culorum progenies initialis, summa numinum. regina 
manium, prima caelitum, deorum dearumque facies 
uniformis^ quae caeli luminosa culmina, maris salubria 

l A description of the sistrum. Its exact form may be seen 
represented on the Egyptian monuments, and Plutarch gives 



wrapped round her from under her left arm to her 
right shoulder in manner of a shield, part of it fell 
down, pleated in most subtle fashion, to the skirts of 
her garment so that the welts appeared comely. 
Here and there upon the edge thereof and through- 
out its surface the stars glimpsed, and in the middle 
of them was placed the moon in mid-month, which 
shone like a flame of fire ; and round about the whole 
length of the border of that goodly robe was a crown 
or garland wreathing unbroken, made with all flowers 
and all fruits. Things quite diverse did she bear : 
for in her right hand she had a timbrel of brass, a 
flat piece of metal curved in manner of a girdle, 
wherein passed not many rods through the peri- 
phery of it ; and when with her arm she moved 
these triple chords, they gave forth a shrill and 
clear sound. 1 In her left hand she bare a cup of 
gold like unto a boat, upon the handle whereof, in 
the upper part which is best seen, an asp lifted up 
his head with a wide-swelling throat. Her odori- 
ferous feet were covered with shoes interlaced and 
wrought with victorious palm. Thus the divine 
shape, breathing out the pleasant spice of fertile 
Arabia, disdained not with her holy voice to utter 
these words unto me : 

"Behold, Lucius, I am come; thy weeping 
prayer hath moved me to succour thee. 
that is the natural mother of all things, mistress and 
governess of all the elements, the initial progeny o 
worlds, chief of the powers divine, queen of all that 
are in hell, the principal of them that dwell it 
heaven, manifested alone and under one form a all 
the gods and goddesses. At my will the planel 
an elaborate explanation of its symboliem in his treatise 
De hide et Osiride. ,., 

2 M 


flamina, inferum deplorata silentia nutibus meis dis- 
pense : cuius nuinen unicum multiform! specie, ritu 
vario, nomine multiiugo totus veneratur orbis. Inde 
primigenii Phryges Pessinuntiam deum Matrem, hinc 
autochthones Attici Cecropeiam Minervam, illinc 
fluctuantes Cyprii Paphiam Venerem, Cretes sagitti- 
feri Dictynnam Dianam, Siculi trilingues Stygiam 
Proserpinam, Eleusini vetustam deam Cererem, luno- 
nem alii, Bellonam alii, Hecatam isti, Rhamnusiam 
illi, et qui nascentis dei solis inchoantibus illustrantur 
radiis Aethiopes utrique * priscaque doctrina pollentes 
Aegyptii, caerimoniis me propriis percolentes, appel- 
lant vero nomine reginam Isidem. Adsum tuos mise- 
rata casus, adsum favens et propitia. Mitte iam fletus 
et lamentationes omitte, depelle maerorem : iam tibi 
providentia mea illucescit dies salutaris. Ergo igitur 
imperils istis meis animum intende sollicitum. Diem, 
qui dies ex ista nocte nascetur, aeterna mihi nuncu- 
pavit religio, quo, sedatis hibernis tempestatibus et 
lenitis maris procellosis fluctibus, navigabili iam pelago 

i The reading of theMSS is Arique. But these inhabitants 
of Aria, a Persian or Parthian region, seem so much out of 
place between the Ethiopians and the Egyptians that I have 
preferred to adopt Brant's emendation. 



the sky, the wholesome winds of the seas, and the 
lamentable silences of hell be disposed ; my name, 
my divinity is adored throughout all the world, in 
divers manners, in variable customs, and by many 
names. For the Phrygians that are the first of all 
men 1 call me the Mother of the gods at Pessinus ; 
the Athenians, which are sprung from their own 
soil, Cecropian Minerva ; the Cyprians, which an- 
girt about by the sea, Paphian Venus ; the Cretans 
which bear arrows, Dictynnian Diana; the Sicilian^ 
which speak three tongues, infernal Proserpine ; the 
Eleusians their ancient goddess Ceres ; some Juno, 
other Bellona, other Hecate, other Rhamnusia.- 
and principally both sort of the Ethiopians which 
dwell in the Orient and are enlightened by the 
morning rays of the sun, and the Egyptians, which 
are excellent in all kind of ancient doctrine, and 
by their proper ceremonies accustom to worship 
me, do call me by my true name, Queen Isis. 
Behold I am come to take pity of thy fortune and 
tribulation ; behold I am present to favour and aid 
thee; leave off thy weeping and lamentation, put 
away all thy sorrow, for behold the healthful day 
which is ordained by my providence. Therefore be 
ready and attentive to my commandment ; the day 
which shall come after this night is dedicate to 
my service by an eternal religion; my priests and 
ministers do accustom, after the wintry and stormy 
tempests of the sea be ceased and the billows of his 

l "The Egyptians [of the time of Psammetichus] were brought 
to think that the Phrygians were the most old and anc, 
people of the earth, and themselves to be next in antiquit 
them " For the reasons which induced PsammetichuB and 
his people to form this opinion, see Herodotus, II. 2. 
a An epithet of the goddess Nemesis, or Fate. 


rudem dedicantes carinam primitias commeatuslibant 
mei sacerdotes : id sacrum nee sollicita nee profana 
6 mente debel>is opperiri. Xam meo monitu sacerdos 
in ipso procinctu pompae roseam raanu dextera sistro 
cohaerentem gestabit coronam. Incunctanter ergo 
dimotis turbulis alacer continuare pompam, mea vo- 
lentia fretus, et de proxumo clemeiiter velut manum 
sacerdotis osculabundus rosis decerptis pessimae mihi- 
que destabilis iamdudum beluae istius corio te protinus 
exue. Nee quicquam rerum niearum reformides ut 
arduum : nam hoc eodem momento quo tibi venio, 
siruul et ibi praesens quae sunt sequentia sacerdoti 
meo per quietem facienda praecipio. Meo iussu tibi 
constrict! comitatus decedent populi ; nee inter hilares 
caerimonias et festiva spectacula quisquam deformem 
istam quam geris faciem perhorrescet, vel figuram 
tuam repente mutatam sequius interpretatus aliquis 
maligne criminabitur. Plane memineris et penita 
mente conditum semper tenebis mihi reliqua vitae 
tuae curricula ad usque terminos ultimi spiritus 
vadata : nee iniurium, cuius beneficio redieris ad 
homines, ei totum debere quod vives. Vives autem 
beatus, vives in meatutela gloriosus ; et cum spatium 
saeculi tui permensus ad inferos demearis, ibi quoque 
in ipso subterraneo semirotundo me, quam vides 


waves are still, to offer in my name a new ship, as a 
first-fruit of their navigation ; and for this must thou 
wait, and not profane or despise the sacrifice in any 
wise. For the great priest shall carry this day 
following in procession, by my exhortation, a garland 
of roses next to the timbrel of his right hand ; delay 
not, but, trusting to my will, follow that my pro- 
cession passing amongst the crowd of the people, 
and when thou comest to the priest, make as though 
thou wouldst kiss his hand, but snatch at the i 
and thereby put away the skin and shape of an ass, 
which kind of beast I have long time abhorred and 
despised. But above all things beware thou doubt 
not nor fear of any of those my things as hard and 
difficult to be brought to pass ; for in this same hour 
that I am come to thee, 1 am present there also, and 
I command the priest by a vision what he shall do, 
as here followeth : and all the people by my command- 
ment shall be compelled to give thee place and say 
nothing.- Moreover, think not that amongst so fair 
and joyful ceremonies, and in so good company, that 
any person shall abhor thy ill-favoured and deformed 
figure, or that any man shall be so hardy as to blame 
and reprove thy sudden restoration to human shape, 
whereby they should gather or conceive any sinister 
opinion of thee; and know thou this of certainty, 
that the residue of thy life until the hour of death 
shall be bound and subject to me; and think it 
not an injury to be always serviceable towards me 
whilst thou ahalt live, since as by my mean and 
benefit thou shalt return again to be a man. 
shalt live blessed in this world, thou shalt 
"lorious by my guide and protection, and when alter 
thine allotted space of life thou descendest to hell. 
there thou shalt see me in that subterranean firma- 



Acherontis tenebris interlucentem Stygiisque pene- 
tralibus regnantem, campos Elysios incolens ipse, tibi 
propitiam frequens adorabis. Quod si sedulis obsequiis 
et religiosis ministeriis et tenacibus castimoniis numen 
nostrum promerueris, scies ultra statuta fato tuo 
spatia vitam quoque tibi prorogate mihi tantum 

7 Sic oraculi venerabilis fine prolato numen invictum 
in se recessit. Nee mora, cum somno protinus abso- 
lutus pavore et gaudio ac deiii sudore nimio per- 
mixtus exsurgo, summeque miratus deae potentis tarn 
claram praesentiam, marine rore respersus magnisque 
imperils eius intentus monitionis ordinem recolebam. 
Nee mora, cum noctis atrae fugato nubilo sol exsurgit 
aureus, et ecce discursu religioso ac prorsus triumphali 
turbulae complent tolas plateas tantaque hilaritudine 
praeter peculiarem meam gestire mihi cuncta vide- 
bantur, ut pecua etiam cuiuscemodi et totas domos 
et ipsum diem serena facie gaudere sentirem. Nam et 
pruinam pridianam dies apricus ac placidus repente 
fuerat insecutus, ut canorae etiam aviculae pro- 
lectatae verno vapore concentus suaves assonarent 
matrem siderum, parentem temporum orbisque totius 
dominam blando mulcentes affamine. Quid quod 
arbores etiam, quae pomifera subole fecundae quae- 
que earum tantum umbra contentae steriles, austrinis 
laxatae flatibus, genuine foliorum renidentes, dementi 
motu brachiorumdulces strepitus obsibilabant, magno- 


ment shining (as thou seest me now) in the darkness 
of Acheron, and reigning in the deep profundity of 
Styx, and thou shalt worship me as one that hath 
been favourable to thee. And if I perceive that 
thou art obedient to my commandment and addict 
to my religion, meriting by thy constant chastity my 
divine grace, know thou that I alone may prolong 
thy days above the time that the fates have appointed 
and ordained." 

When the invincible goddess had spoken these 
words and ended her holy oracle, she vanished away. 
By and by when I awaked, 1 arose, having the mem- 
bers of my body mixed with fear, joy, and heavy 
sweat, and marvelled at the clear presence of the 
puissant goddess, and when I had sprinkled myself 
with the water of the sea, I recounted orderly her 
admonitions and divine commandments. Soon after 
the darkness was chased away and the clear and golden 
sun arose, when behold, I saw the streets replenished 
with people, going in a religious sort, and in great 
triumph. All things seemed that day to be joyful, 
as well all manner of beasts and the very houses, as 
also even the day itself seemed to rejoice. For after 
the hoar frost of the night ensued the hot ami tem- 
perate sun, whereby the little birds, weening that 
the springtime had been come, did chirp and sing 
melodiously, making sweet welcome with their 
pleasant song to the mother of the staxs, the parent 
of times, and mistress of all the world. The fruitful 
trees also, both those which rejoiced in their fertility 
and those which, being barren and sterile, were con- 
tented at the shadow which they could give, being 
loosened by the breathing of the south wiird. and 
smiling by reason of their new buds now appearing, 
did gently move their branches and render sweet 
* ' 551 


que procellarum sedato fragore ac turbido fluctuum 
tumore posito mare quietas alluvies temperabat, 
caelum autem nubilosa caligine disiecta nudo sudoque 
luminis proprii splendore candebat. 

8 Ecce pompae magnae paulatim praecedunt ante- 
ludia votivis cuiusque studiis exornata pulcherrume. 
Hie incinctus balteo militemgerebat,illum succinctum 
chlamyde crepides et venabula venatorem fecerant, 
alius soccis obauratis inductus serica veste mundoque 
pretioso et attextis capiti crinibus incessu perfluo 
feminam mentiebatur. Porro alium ocreis, scuto 
galea ferroque insignem e ludo putares gladiatorio 
procedere. Nee ille deerat qui magistratum fascibus 
purpuraque luderet, nee qui pallio baculoque et 
baxeis et hircino barbitio philosophum fingeret, nee 
qui diversis harundinibus alter aucupem cum visco, 
alter piscatorem cum hamis induceret. Vidi et ursam 
mansuem cultu matrons M, quae * sella vehebatur, et 
simiam pileo textili crocotisque Phrygiis Catamiti 
pastoris specie aureum gestantem poculum, et asinum 
pinnis agglutinatis adambulantem cuidam seni debili, 
ut ilium quidem Bellerophontem, hunc autem diceres 

9 Pegasum, tamen rideres utrumque. Inter has oblec- 
tationes ludicras popularium, quae passim vagabantur 
iam sospitatricis deae peculiaris pompa moliebatur. 
Mulieres candido splendentes amicimine, vario lae- 

i The relative has dropped out of the text aud must be 
supplied either here or before cultu. 



pleasant shrills ; the seas were quiet from the roar- 
ing winds and the tempests of great waves; the 
heaven had chased away the clouds, and appeared 
fair and clear with his proper light. 

Behold, then more and more appeared the begin- 
nings of the pomps and processions, every one attired 
in regal manner, according to his proper habit. One 
was girded about the middle like a man of arms ; 
another bare a spear, and had a cloak caught up and 
high shoes as a hunter ; another was attired in a 
robe of silk, and socks of gold, with fine ornament, 
having long hair added and fixed upon his head, 
and walked delicately in form of a woman ; there \\ tffl 
another which Avare leg harness and bare a target, 
an helmet and a spear, like unto a gladiator, as one 
might believe ; after him marched one attired in 
purple, with the rods borne by vergers before him, 
like a magistrate; after him followed one with a 
mantle, a staff, a pair of pantofles, and with a beard 
as long as any goat's, signifying a philosopher; after 
him went one with reeds and lime, betokening him 
a fowler, and another with hooks, declaring a fisher. 
I saw there a meek and tame bear, which in matron 
habit was carried on a stool ; an ape with a bonnet 
of woven stuff on his head, and covered with saffron 
lawn, resembling the Phrygian shepherd (Janymede, 
and bearing a cup of gold in his hand ; an ass 
had wings glued to his back and went after 
an old man, whereby you would judge the one to 
be Pegasus and the other Bellerophon, and at both 
would you laugh well. Amongst these pleasures 
and popular delectations, which wanden -d hither 
and thither, you might see the peculiar pomp 
of the saving goddess triumphantly march forwuM. 
The women attired in white vestments, and rejoieim 


tantes gestamine, verno florentes coronamine, quae 
de gremio per viam, qua sacer incedebat comitatus, 
solum sternebant flosculis ; aliae quae nitentibus 
speculis pone tergum reversis venienti deae obvium 
commonstrarent obsequium, et quae pectines eburnos 
ferentes gestu brachiorum flexuque digitorum orna- 
tum atque oppexum crinium regalium fingerent ; illae 
etiam, quae ceteris unguentis et geniali balsamo gut- 
tatim excusso conspargebant plateas : magnus prae- 
terea sexus utriusque numerus lucernis, taedis, cereis 
et alio genere facium, lumirie siderum caelestium stir- 
pern propitiantes. Symphoniae dehinc suaves, fist- 
ulae tibiaeque modulis dulcissimis personabant. Eas 
amoenus lectissimae iuventutis, veste nivea et cata- 
clista praenitens, sequebatur chorus, carmen venus- 
tum iterantes, quod Camenarum favore sollers poeta 
raodulatus edixerat, quod argumentum referebat in- 
terim maiorum antecantamenta votorum. Ibant et 
dicati magno Sarapi tibicines, qui per obliquum cala- 
mum, ad aurem porrectura dexteram, familiarem 
templi deique modulum frequentabant, et plerique qui 
10 facilem sacris viam dari praedicarent. Tune influunt 
turbae sacris divinis initiatae, viri feminaeque omnis 
dignitatis et omnis aetatis linteae vestis candore puro 
luminosi, illae limpido tegmine crines madidos obvolu- 
tae, hi capillum derasi funditus verticem praenitentes, 
niagnae religionis terrena sidera, aereis et argenteis, 


in that they bare garlands and flowers upon their 
heads, bespread the way with herbs, which they bare 
in their aprons, where this regal and devout pro- 
cession should pass. Others carried shining mirrors 
behind them which were turned towards the goddess 
as she came, to shew to her those which came after as 
though they would meet her. Others bare combs of 
ivory, and declared by their gesture and motions of 
their arms and fingers that they were ordained and 
ready to dress and adorn the goddess's hair. Others 
dropped in the ways, as they went, balm and other 
precious ointments. Then came a great number, as 
well of men as of women, with lamps, candles, torches, 
and other lights, doing honour thereby to her that 
was born of the celestial stars. After that sounded 
the musical harmony of instruments, pipes and flutes 
in most pleasant measure. Then came a fair company 
of youth apparelled in white vestments and fcst.-il 
array, singing both metre and verse with a comely 
grace which some studious poet had made by favour 
of the Muses, the words whereof did set forth the 
first ceremonies of this great worship. In the mean 
season arrived the blowers of trumpets, which wen- 
dedicate unto mighty Sarapis, who, holding the same 
reed sidelong towards their right ears, did give forth 
a ditty proper to the temple and the god : and like- 
wise were there many officers and beadles, frying 
room for the goddess to pass. Then came tin- great 
company of men and women of all stations ;md of 
every age which were initiate and had taken divine 
orders, whose garments, being of the whitest linen, 
glistened all the streets over. The women had their 
hair anointed, and their heads covered with light 
linen ; but the men had their crowns shaven and 
shining bright, as being the terrene stars of the 



immo vero aureis etiam sistris argutum tinnitum con- 
strepentes. Sed antistites sacrorum proceres illi, qui 
candido linteamine cinctum pectoralem adusque ves- 
tigia strictim iniecti potentissimorum deum profere- 
bant insignes exuvias : quorum primus lucernam claro 
praemicantem porrigebat lumine, non adeo nostris 
illis consimilem quae vespertinas illuminant epulas, 
sed aureum cymbium medio sui patore flammulam 
suscitans largiorem : secundus vestitu quidem similis, 
sed manibus ambabus gerebat auxillas, 1 quibua 
nomen dedit proprium deae summatis auxiliaris 
providentia : ibat tertius attollens palmam atiro 
subtiliter foliatam necnon Mercuriale etiam cadu- 
ceum : quartus aequitatis ostendebat indicium, de- 
formatam manum sinistram porrecta palmula, quae 
genuina pigritia, nulla calliditate, nulla sollertia 
praedita, videbatur aequitati magis aptior quam dex- 
tcra ; idem gerebat et aureum vasculum in modum 
papillae rotuiiclatum de quo lacte libabat : quintus 
auream vannum aureis congestam ramulis, et alius 
ferebat amphoram. 

Nee mora, cum dei dignati pedibus humanis in- 
cedere prodeunt : hie horrendus ille superum com- 
meator et inferum, mine atra nunc aurea facie 
sublimis, attollcns cam's cervices arduas Anubis, 
laeva caduceum gerens, dextera palmam virentem 
quatiens ; huius vestigium continuum sequebatur bos 
in erectum levata statum, bos, omniparentis deae 

1 The MSS have altaria, id est auxilia. I accept KaibeFs 
suggestion of auxillas, " sacrificial pots " (a word found in the 
grammarian Festus and in the glossaries). The MS reading 
arose from the incorporation of an explanatory gloss. 



goddess, and held in their hands timbrels of brass, 
silver, aye and gold, which rendered forth a shrill ,-md 
pleasant sound. The principal priests, leaders of the 
saered rites, which were apparelled with white 
surplices drawn tight about their breasts and hanging 
down to the ground, bare the relics of all the most 
puissant gods. One that was first of them carried in 
his hand a lantern shining forth with a clear light, 
not very like to those which we use in our hi 
and light our supper withal at evening-time, for the 
bowl of it was of gold and rendered from the middle 
thereof a more bright flame. The second, attired 
like the other, bare in both hands those pots to 
which the succouring providence of the high goddess 
herself had given their name. The third held up a 
tree of palm, with leaves cunningly wrought of gold, 
and the verge or rod Caduceus of Mercury. The 
fourth shewed a token of equity, that was a left hand 
deformed in every place and with open palm, and 
because it was naturally more sluggish, and that 
there was no cleverness nor craft in it, it signified 
thereby more equity than by the right hand : the 
same priest carried a round vessel of gold, in form of 
a breast, whence milk flowed down. The fifth bare a 
winnowing fan, wrought with sprigs of gold, and 
another carried a vessel for wine. 

By and by after, the gods deigned to follow afoot 
as men do, and specially Anubis, the messenv 
the gods infernal and supernal, tall, with his face 
sometime black, sometime fair as gold, lifting up on 
high his dog's head, and bearing in his left hand his 
verge, and in his right hand the green branch of a 
palm-tree. After him straight followed a eo\v with 
an upright gait, the cow representing the great 
eoddess that is the fruitful mother of all, and he 


fecundum simulacrum, quod residens humeris suis 
proferebat unus e ministerio beato gressu gestuosus. 
Ferebatur ab alio cista secretorum capax penitus 
celans operta magnificae religionis. Gerebat alius 
felici suo gremio summi numinis venerandam effi- 
giem, non pecoris, non avis, non ferae, ac ne hominis 
quidem ipsius consimilem, sed sollerti repertu etiam 
ipsa novitate reverendam altioris utcumque et magno 
silentio tegendae religionis argumentum ineffabile, 
sed ad istum plane modum fulgente auro figuratam : 
urnula faberrime cavata, fundo quam rotundo, miris 
extrinsecus simulacris Aegyptiorum effigiata ; eius 
orificium non altiuscule levatum in canalem por- 
rectum longo rivulo prominebat ; ex alia vero parte 
inultum recedens spatiosa dilatione adhaerebat ansa, 
quam contorto nodulo supersedebat aspis squameae 
cervicis striato tumore sublimis. 

12 Et ecce praesentissimi numinis promissa nobis acce- 
dunt beneficia, et fata salutemque ipsam meam gerens 
sacerdos appropinquat, ad ipsum praescriptum divinae 
promissionis ornatum dextera proferens sistrum 
deae, mihi coronam et Hercule coronam consequen- 
ter, quod tot ac tantis exanclatis laboribus,tot emensis 
periculis deae maximae providentia alluctantem mihi 
saevissime Fortunam superarem. Nee tamen gaudio 
subitario commotus inclementi me cursu proripui, 
verens scilicet ne repentino quadripedis impetu 
religionis quietus turbaretur ordo, sed placido ac 
prorsus humano gradu cunctabundus, paulatim obli- 


that guided her supported her as she leaned upon 
his shoulder, and marched on with much gravity in 
happy steps. Another carried after the secrets of 
their glorious religion, closed in a coffer. Another 
was there that bare in his bosom (thrice happy he !) 
the venerable figure of the godhead, not formed like 
any beast, bird, savage thing, or human shape, but 
made by a new invention, and therefore much to be 
admired, an emblem ineffable, whereby was sigiiifird 
that such a religion was at once very high and 
should not be discovered or revealed to any person ; 
thus was it fashioned of shining gold : it was a 
vessel wrought with a round bottom, and hollowed 
with wondrous cunning, having on the outside 
pictures figured like unto the manner of the 
Egyptians, and the mouth thereof was not very 
high, but made to jut out like unto a long funnel ; 
on the other side was an ear or handle which came 
far out from the vessel, whereupon stood an asp 
holding out his swelling and scaly neck, which 
entwined the whole as in a knot. 

Finally came he which was appointed to my good 
fortune, according to the promise of the most 
puissant goddess. For the great priest, which bare 
the restoration of my human shape, by the com- 
mandment of the g'oddess approached more and 
more, carrying in his right hand both the timbrel 
and the garland of roses to give me, which was in 
very deed my crown to deliver me from cruel 
fortune which was always mine enemy, after the 
sufferance of so much calamity and pain, and 
after the endurance of so many perils. Then I, not 
running hastily by reason of sudden joy, lest 
should disturb the quiet procession with my beastly 
importunity, but going softly w a man doth step 


quato corpora, sane divinitus decedente populo, sensim 

13 irrepo. At sacerdos ut reapse cognoscere potui, 
nocturni commonefactus oraculi miratusque con- 
gruentiam mandati muneris, confestim restitit, et 
ultro porrecta dextera ob os ipsum meum coronam 
exhibuit. Tune ego trepidans, assiduo pulsu micanti 
corde, coronam, quae rosis amoenis intexta fulgurabat, 
avido ore susceptam cupidus promissi devoravi. Nee 
me fefellit caeleste promissum : protinus mihi dela- 
bitur deformis et ferina facies. Ac primo quidetn 
squalens pilus defluit, ac dehinc cutis crassa tenuatur, 
venter obesus residet, peduni plantae per ungulas in 
digitos exeunt, manus non iam pedes sunt sed in 
erecta porriguntur officia, cervix procera cohibetur, 
os et caput rotundatur, aures enormes repetunt 
pristinam parvitatem, dentes saxei redeunt ad hu- 
manam minutiem, et, quae me potissimum cruciabat 
ante, cauda nusquam. Populi mirantur, religiosi 
venerantur tarn evidentem maximi iiuminis potentiam 
et consimilem nocturnis imaginibus magnificentiam 
et facilitatem reformationis, claraque et consona voce, 
caelo manus attendentes, testantur tarn illustre deae 

14 At ego stupore nimio defixus tacitus haerebam, 
animo meo tarn repentinum tamque magnum non 
capiente gaudium, quid potissimum praefarer pri- 
rriarium, unde novae vocis exordium caperem, quo 
sermone nunc renata lingua felicius auspicarer, 
quibus quantisque verbis tantae deae gratias agerem. 
Sed sacerdos, utcumque divino monitu cognitis ab 



through the press of people, which gave me place by 
the divine command on every side, I went after the 
priest. Then the priest, being admonished the 
night before, as I might well perceive, and mar- 
velling that now the event came opportunely to 
fulfil that warning, suddenly stood still, and holding 
out his hands thrust out the garland of roses to my 
mouth : which garland I (trembling and my heart 
beating greatly) devoured with a great affection. 
As soon as I had eaten them, I was not deceived of 
the promise made unto me : for my deform and assy 
face abated, and first the rugged hair of my body 
fell off, my thick skin waxed soft and tender, my fat 
belly became thin, the hoofs of my feet changed 
into toes, my hands were no more feet but returned 
again to the work of a man that walks upright, my 
neck grew short, my head and mouth became round, 
my long ears were made little, my great and stony 
teeth waxed less, like the teeth of men, and my tail, 
which before cumbered me most, appeared nowhere. 
Then the people began to marvel, and the religious 
honoured the goddess for so evident a miracle, which 
was foreshadowed by the visions which they aw 
in the night, and the facility of my reformation, 
whereby they lifted their hands to heaven and with 
one voice rendered testimony of so great a benefit 
which I received of the goddess. 

When I saw myself in such estate, I was utterly 

astonied and stood still a good space and said 

nothing ; for my mind could not contain so sudden 

and so great joy, and I could not tell what to say, 

nor what word I should first speak with my voice 

newly found, nor what thanks I should render to the 

goddess. But the great priest, all 

' my fortune and misery by divine advertisement, 

2N 561 


engine cunctis cladibus meis, quamquam et ipse 
insigni permotus miraculo, nutu significato prius 
praecipit tegendo mi hi linteam dari laciniam : nam 
me cum primum nefasto tegminedespoliaveratasinus, 
compressis in artum feminibus et superstrictis 
accurate manibus, quantum nudo licebat, velamento 
me naturali probe muniveram. Tune e cohortereli- 
gionis unus impigre superiorem exutus tunicam 
supertexit me celerrime : quo facto, sacerdos vultu 
geniali et Hercule perhumano in aspectum meum 
15attonitus sic effatur : " Multis et variis exanclatis 
laboribus magnisque Fortunae tempestatibus et 
maximis actus procellis ad portum quietis et aram 
misericordiae tandem, Luci, venisti : nee tibi natales 
ac ne dignitas quidem, vel ipsa qua flores usquam 
doctrina profuit, sed lubrico virentis aetatulae ad 
serviles delapsus voluptates, curiositatis impro- 
sperae sinistrum praemium reportasti. Sed utcum- 
que Fortunae caecitas, dum te pessimis periculis 
discruciat, ad religiosam istam beatitudinem im- 
provida produxit malitia. Eat nunc et summo 
furore saeviat, et crudelitati suae materiem quaerat 
aliam : nam in eos quorum sibi vitas in servitium 
deae nostrae maiestas vindicavit, non habet locum 
casus infestus. Quid latrones, quid ferae, quid 
servitium, quid asperrimorum itinerum ambages 
reciprocae, quid metus mortis cotidianae nefariae 
Fortunae profuit? In tutelam iam receptus es 
Fortunae, sed videntis, quae suae lucis splendore 
ceteros etiam deos illuminat. Sume iam vultum 
laetiorem candido isto habitu tuo congruentem, 


although he also was amazed at this notable marvel, 
by gestures commanded that one should give me a 
linen garment to cover me; for as soon as I a-, 
transformed from the vile skin of an ass to my human 
shape, I hid the privities of my body with my hands 
as far as a naked man might do. Then one of the 
company put off his upper robe, and put it on my 
back ; which done, the priest, looking upon me with 
a sweet and benign countenance, began to say in this 
sort : " O my friend Lucius, after the endurance of 
so many labours and the escape of so many tempests 
of fortune, thou art now at length come to the port 
and haven of rest and mercy. Neither did thy 
noble lineage, thy dignity, neither thy excellent 
doctrine anything avail thee ; but because thou 
didst turn to servile pleasures, by a little folly of 
thy youthfulness, thou hast had a sinister reward 
of thy unprosperous curiosity. But howsoever tin- 
blindness of fortune tormented thee in divrs 
dangers, so it is that now by her unthoughtful 
malice thou art come to this present felicity of 
religion. Let fortune go and fume with fury in 
another place; let her find some other matter to 
execute her cruelty ; for fortune hath no puissance 
against them which have devoted their lives to serve 
and honour the majesty of our goddess. For what 
availed the thieves ? The beasts savage ? 
servitude? The ill, toilsome, and dangerous waysj 
The fear of death every day? What avaiU-d all 
those, I say, to cruel fortune ? Know thou that 
thou art safe, and under the protection of 
fortune that is not blind but can see, who by h 
clear light doth lighten the other gods : wherefo 
rejoice, and take a convenable countenance to thy 

white habit, and follow with joyful steps the 



comitare pompam deae sospitatricis inovanti gradu, 
Videant irreligiosi, videant et errorem suum recogno- 
scant : ' En ecce pristinis aerumnis absolutus Isidis 
magnae providentia gaudens Lucius de sua Fortuna 
triumphal.' Quo tamen tutior sis atque munitior, 
da nomen sanctae huic militiae, cuius non olim 
Sacramento etiam rogabaris, teque iam nunc obse- 
quio religionis nostrae dedica et ministerii iugum 
subi voluntarium : nam cum coeperis deae servire, 
tune magis senties fructum tuae libertatis." 
16 Ad istum modum vaticinatus sacerdos egregius 
fatigatos anhelitus trahens conticuit. Exin per- 
mixtus agmini religiose procedens comitabar sacra- 
rium totae civitati notus ac conspicuus, digitis 
hominum nutibusque notabilis. Omnes in me 
populi fabulabantur : " Hunc omnipotentis hodie 
deae numen augustum reformavit ad homines : felix 
Hercule et ter beatus qui vitae scilicet praecedentis 
innocentia fideque meruerit tarn praeclarum de 
caelo patrocinium, ut renatus quodam modo statim 
sacrorum obsequio desponderetur.' t Inter haec et 
festorum votorum tumultum paulatim progress! iam 
ripam maris proximamus atque ad ipsum ilium locum, 
quo pridie meus stabulaverat asinus, pervenimus. 
Ibidem simulacris rite dispositis navem faberrime 
factam, picturis miris Aegyptiorum circumsecus 
variegatam, summus sacerdos taeda lucida et ovo et 
sulphure sollemnissimas preces de casto praefatus 
ore, quam purissime purificatam deae nuncupavit 


of this devout and honourable procession ; let such, 
which be not devout to the goddess, see and acknow- 
ledge their error : < Behold, here is Lucius that is 
delivered from his former so great miseries by the 
providence of the goddess Isis, and rejoiceth there- 
fore and triumpheth of victory over his fortune.' And 
to the end thou mayest live more safe and sure, 
make thyself one of this holy order, to which thou 
wast but a short time since pledged by oath, dedicate 
thy mind to the obeying of our religion, and take 
upon thee a voluntary yoke of ministry : for when 
thou beginnest to serve and honour the goddess, then 
shalt thou feel the more the fruit of thy liberty." 

After that the great priest had prophesied in this 
manner with often breathings, he made a conclusion 
of his words. Then I went amongst the coni|>any of 
the rest arid followed the procession : every <>m- of 
the people knew me, and pointing at me with their 
fingers, or nodding with their heads, they said in 
this sort : " Behold him who is this day transformed 
into a man by the puissance of the sovereign goddess ; 
verily he is blessed and most blessed that by the 
innocency of his former life hath merited so great 
grace from heaven, and as it were by a new gem-ration 
is reserved straightway to the obsequy of religion." 
In the mean season, amid all these loud cries and 
prayers, by little and little we approached nigh unto 
the sea-coast, even to that place where I lay the 
night before being an ass. There, after the images 
and relics were orderly disposed, was a boat cunningly 
wrought and compassed about with divers pictures 
according to the fashion of the Egyptians, which 
the great priest did dedicate and consecrate with 
certain prayers from his holy lips and purified the 
same with a torch, an egg, and sulphur, dedicating 


dedicavitque. Huius felicis alvei nitens carbasus 
litteras voti intextas progerebat : eae litterae votum 
instaurabant de novi commeatus prospera naviga- 
tione. lam malus insurgit, pinus rotunda splendore 
sublimis, insigni carchesio conspicua, et puppis in- 
torta chenisco, bracteis aureis vestita fulgebat, 
omnisque prorsus carina citro limpido perpolita 
florebat. Tune cuncti populi, tarn religiosi quam 
profani, vannos onustas aromatis et huiuscemodi 
suppliciis certatim congerunt et insuper fluctus 
libant intritum lacte confectum, donee muneribus 
largis et devotionibus faustis completa navis; ab- 
soluta strophiis ancoralibus, peculiar! serenoque 
flatu pelago redderetur : quae postquam cursuy 
spatio pi-ospectum sui nobis incertat, sacrorum 
geruli, sumptis rursum quae quisque detulerant, 
alacres ad fanum reditum capessunt simili structu 
pompae decori. 

17 At cum ad ipsum iam templum pervenimus, 
sacerdos maximus, quique divinas effigies progere- 
bant, et qui venerandis penetralibus pridem fuerant 
initiat^ intra cubiculum deae recepti disponunt rite 
simulacra spirantia. Tune ex his unus, quern cuncti 
grammatea dicebant, pro foribus assistens coetu 
pastophorum (quod sacrosancti collegii nomen est) 
velut in contionem vocato, indidem de sublimi sug- 


it unto the name of the goddess. The sail of this 
blessed ship was of white linen cloth, whereon was 
written certain letters which should testify the naviga- 
tion of the new season to be prosperous ; the mast was 
of a great length, made of a pine-tree, round, and very 
excellent, with a shining top seen of all eyes ; the 
poop was covered over with plates of gold, being 
in shape like unto a goose's neck, and all the ship 
was made of citron-tree very fair. Then all Un- 
people, as well religious as profane, took a great 
number of winnowing fans replenished with odours 
and pleasant smells, and poured libation of milk into 
the sea, until the ship was filled up with large gifts 
and prosperous devotions, when as with a pleasant 
wind the ropes of the anchor were let go and it 
launched out into the deep while a breeze blew fair 
for that ship alone. And when they had lost the 
sight of the ship, by reason that it was afar off', every 
man of them that bore the holy things carried again 
that which he brought, and went towards the temple 
in like pomp and order as they came to the sea- 

When we were come to the temple, the great 
priest and those which were deputed to carry the 
divine figures, but specially those which had lung 
time been initiate in the religion, went into tin- 
secret chamber of the goddess, where they put and 
placed the lively images according to their order. 
This done, one of the company which was a scribe or 
interpreter of letters, in form of a preacher stood up 
in a chair before the place of the holy college of th<- 
Pastophores 1 (for so are they named) and calling 
together their whole assembly, from his high pulpit 

1 The " shrine-bearers "the highest order of tin- Mac 



gestu de libro, de litteris fausta vota praefatus prin- 
cipi magno senatuique et equiti totoque Romano 
populo, nauticis navibusque, quae sub imperio 
mundi nostratis reguntur, renuntiat sermone rituque 
Graeciensi ita: " TIAOIA^ESIA " ; quam vocem feliciter 
cunctis evenire signavit populi clamor inaecutus. Exin 
gaudio delibuti populares thallos, verbenas, corollas 
ferentes, exosculatis vestigiis deae quae gradibus 
haerebat argento formata, ad suos discedunt Lares. 
Nee tamen me sinebat animus ungue latius indidem 
digredi, sed intentus in deae specimen pristinos 
casus meos recordabar. 

18 Nee tamen fama volucris pigra pinnarum tarditate 
cessaverat, sed protinus in patria deae providentis 
adorabile beneficium meamque ipsius fortunam me- 
morabilem narraverat passim. Confestim denique 
familiares ac vernulae, quique mihi proxumo nexu 
sanguinis cohaerebant, luctu deposito quern de meae 
mortis falso nuntio susceperant, repentino laetati 
gaudio varie quisque munerabundi ad meum festi- 
nant illico diurnum reducemque ab inferis con- 
spectum. Quorum desperata ipse etiam facie re- 
creatus oblationes honestas aequi bonique facio, 

i This Greek word or words had become much corrupted 
in the MSS : w\oia.<ptffia. is Mommsen's emendation. The 



began to readout of a book, praying for good fortune 
to the great Prince, the Senate, to the noble order 
of Chivalry, and generally to all the Roman people, 
and to all the sailors and ships such as be under the 
puissance and jurisdiction of Rome, and he pronounced 
to them in the Grecian tongue and manner this word 
following, " Ploiaphesia," 1 which signified that it was 
now lawful for the ships to depart ; whereat all the 
people gave a great shout, and then replenished with 
much joy, bare all kind of leafy branches and herbs 
and garlands of flowers home to their houses, kissing 
and embracing the feet of a silver image of the 
goddess upon the steps of the temple. Howbeit I 
could not do as the rest, for my mind would not 
suffer me to depart one foot away, so earnest and 
attentive was I to behold the beauty of the goddess, 
with remembrance likewise of my great travail and 
misery which I had endured. 

In the mean season news was carried throughout 
the country (which goeth as swift as the flight of 
birds, or as the blast of wind) of the grace and 
benefit which I had received of the goddess, and of 
my fortune worthy to be had in memory. Then my 
parents of close blood, friends, and servants of our 
house, understanding that I was not dead as thry 
were falsely informed, laid by their grief and came 
towards me with great diligence to see me, bearing 
to me gifts, as a man raised from death to life. And 
I likewise, which did never think to see them again, 
was as joyful as they, but would receive none of the 
honest gifts and oblations which they gave, inas- 

old printed editions had Xaois 40e<r, which may be compared 
with the he ffifaa est at the end of the Roman Mass ; uth.-r 
commentators suggest dyi* ty' 8<a and other formulae of 

Oriental religion. 



quippe cum mihi familiares quod ad cultum sump- 
tumque largiter succederet deferre prospicue curas- 

19 sent. Affatis itaque ex officio singulis, narratisque 
meis probe et pristinis aerumnis et praesentibus 
gaudiis, me rursum ad deae gratissimum mihi refero 
conspectum, aedibusque conductis intra consaeptum 
templi Larem temporarium mihi constituo, deae mini- 
steriis adhuc privatis appositus contuberniisque sacer- 
dotum individuus et numinis magni cultor insepara- 
bilis. Nee fuit nox una vel quies aliqua visu deae 
monituque ieiuna, sed crebris imperiis sacris suis me 
iamdudum destinatum nunc saltern censebat initiari. 
At ego,quamquam cupienti voluntate praeditus^tamen 
religiosa formidine retardabar, quod enim sedulo 
percontaveram difficile religionis obsequium et cas- 
timoniorum abstinentiam satis arduam cautoque 
circumspectu vitam, quae multis casibus subiacet, 
esse muniendam. Haec identidem mecum re- 
putans nescioquo modo, quamquam festinans, differ- 

20 Nocte quadam plenum gremium suum visus est 
mihi summus sacerdos offerre, ac requirenti, quid 
utique istud, respondisse partes illas de Thes- 
salia mihi missas, servum etiam meum indidem 
supervenisse nomine Candid um. Hanc experrectus 
imaginem diu diuque apud cogitationes meas revolve- 
bam quid rei portenderet, praesertim cum nullum 
unquam habuisse me servum isto nomine nuncupatum 
certus essem ; utut tamen sese praesagium somni 


much as my servants had taken care to bring with 
them enough of such things as was necessary for 
my body and my charges. After that I had greeted 
each according to his kindness, and made relation 
unto them of all my pristine misery and present 
joys, I went again before the face of the goddess, and 
hired me a house within the cloister of the temple, 
since I had been set apart for the service of the 
goddess that hitherto had been kept private from 
me, so that I might ordinarily frequent the company of 
the priests, whereby I would wholly become devout 
to the goddess, and an inseparable worshipper of her 
divine name : nor was there any night nor sleep but 
that the goddess appeared to me, persuading and 
commanding me to take the order of her religion 
whereto I had been long since foreordained. But I, 
although I was endued with a desirous goodwill, yet 
the reverend fear of the same held me back, con- 
sidering that as I had learned by diligent enquiry her 
obeisance was hard, the chastity of the priests diffi- 
cult to keep, and the whole life of them, because it 
is set about with many chances, to be watched and 
guarded veiy carefully. Being thus in doubt, I 
refrained myself from all those things as seeming 
impossible, although in truth I was hastening towards 

On a night the great priest appeared unto me in a 
dream presenting his lap full of treasure, and when I 
demanded what it signified, he answered that this 
portion was sent me from the country of Thessaly, 
and that a servant of mine named Candidas was 
thence arrived likewise. When I was awaked, I mused 
in myself what this vision should portend, consider- 
ing 1 never had any servant called by that name : 
but whatsoever it did signify, this I verily thought, 



porrigeret, lucrum certum modis omnibus significari 
partium oblatione credebam. Sic anxius et in pro- 
ventum prosperiorem attonitus templi matutinas 
apertiones opperiebar : ac dum, velis candentibus 
reductis in diversum, deae venerabilem conspectum 
apprecamurj et per dispositas aras circumiens sacerdos, 
rem divinam procurans supplicamentis sollemnibus, 
de penetrali fontem petitum spondeo libat, rebus iam 
rite consummatis inchoatae lucis salutationibus re- 
ligiosi primam nuntiantes horam perstrepunt. Et 
eece superveniunt Hypata 1 quos ibi reliqueram 
famulos, cum me Fotis malis incapistrasset erroribus, 
cognitis scilicet fabulis meis, necnon et equum 
quoque ilium meum reducentes, quern diverse dis- 
tractum notae dorsualis agnitione recuperaverant. 
Quare sollertiam somni turn mirabar vel maxime, 
quod praeter congruentiam lucrosae pollicitationis 
argumento servi Candidi equum mihi reddidisset 
colore candidum. 

21 Quo facto idem sollicitius sedulum colendi frequen- 
tabam ministerium spe futura beneficiis praesentibus 
pignerata ; nee minus in dies mihi magis magisque 
accipiendorum sacrorum cupido gliscebat, summisque 
precibus primarium sacerdotem saepissime coii- 
veiieram, petens ut me noctis sacratae tandem arca- 
nis initiaret. At ille, vir alioquin gravis et sobriae 

i The MSS have de patria. which, according to Bursian, 
would be a gloss that shouldered the true reading Hypata out 
of the text. 


that such offering of gifts was a foreshew of gain and 
prosperous chance. While I was thus anxious and 
astonished at my coming prosperity, I went to 
the temple, and tarried there till the opening of the 
gates in the morning : then I went in, and when the 
white curtains were drawn aside, I began to pray 
before the face of the goddess, while the priest 
prepared and set the divine things on every altar 
with solemn supplications, and fetched out of the 
sanctuary the holy water for the libation. When 
all things were duly performed, the religious 
began to sing the matins of the morning, testifying 
thereby the hour of prime. By and by behold 
arrived my servants which I had left at Hypata, 
when Fotis entangled me in my maze of miserable 
wanderings, who had heard my tale as it seemed, 
and brought with them even my horse, which they 
had recovered through certain signs and tokens 
which he had upon his back. Then I perceived the 
interpretation of my dream, by reason that beside 
the promise of gain, my white horse was restored to 
me, which was signified by the argument of my 
servant Candidus. 1 

This done, I retired the more diligently to the 
service of the goddess in hope of greater benefits, 
considering I had received a sign and token, whereby 
my courage increased every day more and more to 
take upon me the orders and sacraments of the 
temple : in so much that I oftentimes communed 
with the priest, desiring him greatly to make me 
initiate in the mysteries of the holy night. But he, 
which was a man of gravity and well-renowned in 

1 Servus candidus (according as the second word is f|>-lt 
with a capital letter or no) means " my servant Candidus " or 
" my white servant." 



religionis observatione famosus, clementer ac comiter 
et ut solent parentes immaturis liberorum desideriis 
modificari, meam differens instantiam, spei melioris 
solaciis alioquin anxiurn mihi permulcebat animum. 
Nam et diem quo quisque possit initiari deae nutu 
demonstrari, et sacerdotem qui sacra debeat mini- 
strare eiusdem providentia deligi, sumptus etiam 
caerimoniis necessaries simili praecepto destinari : 
quae cuncta nos quoque observabili patientia sus- 
tinere censebat, quippe cum aviditati contumaciaeque 
summe cavere, et utramque culpam vitare, ac neque 
vocatus morari nee non iussus festinare deberem. 
Nee tamen esse quemquam de suo numero tarn 
perditae mentis vel immo destinatae mortis, qui non 
sibi quoque seorsum iubente domina, temerarium 
atque sacrilegum audeat ministerium subire noxam- 
que letalem contrahere. Nam et inferum claustra 
et salutis tutelam in deae manu posita, ipsamque 
traditionem ad instar voluntariae mortis et precariae 
salutis celebrari, quippe cum transactis vitae tem- 
poribus iam in ipso finitae lucis limine constitutes^ 
quis tamen tuto possint magna religionis committi 
silentia, numen deae soleat elicere et sua providentia 
quodam modo renatos ad novae reponere rursus 
salutis curricula Ergo igitur me quoque oportere 
caeleste sustinere praeceptum, quamquam praecipua 
evidentique magni numinis dignatione iamdudum 
felici ministerio nuncupatum destinatumque, nee 
secus quam cul tores ceteri cibis profanis ac nefariis 


the order of priesthood, very gently and kindly 
deferred my affection from day to day with comfort 
of better hope, as parents commonly bridle the 
desires of their children when they attempt or 
endeavour any unprofitable thing, saying that the 
day when any one should be admitted into their 
order is appointed by the goddess, the priest which 
should minister the sacrifice is chosen by her provi- 
dence, and the necessary charge of the ceremonies is 
allotted by her commandment ; all of which things he 
willed me to attend with marvellous patience : and 
that I should beware both of too much forwardness, 
and of stubborn obstinacy, avoiding either danger, 
that if being called I should delay, or not called 
I should be hasty. Moreover he said that there was 
none of his company either of so desperate a mind, or 
so rash and hardy unto death as to enterprise receiving 
this mystery without the commandment of the god- 
dess, whereby he should commit a deadly offence : 
considering that it was in her power both to damn 
and to save all persons, and that the taking of such 
orders was like to a voluntary death and a difficult 
recovery to health : and if anywhere there were any 
at the point of death and at the end and limit of 
their life, so that they were capable to receive the 
dread secrets of the goddess, it was in her power by 
divine providence to make them as it were new-born 
and to reduce them to the path of health. Finally 
he said that I must therefore attend and wait tor 
the celestial iirecept, although it were evident 
and plain that the goddess had already vouchsafed 
to call and appoint me to the happy company of 
her ministry, and that I must refrain from profane 
and unlawful meats, as those priests which were 
already received, to the end I might come more 



lam nunc temperare, quo rectius ad arcana purissimae 
religionis secreta pervaderem. 

22 Dixerat sacerdos, nee impatientia corrumpebatur 
obsequium meum, sed intentus miti quiete et proba- 
bili taciturnitate sedulum quot dies obibam culturae 
sacrorum ministerium. Nee me fefellit vel longi 
temporis prolatione cruciavit deae potentisbenignitas 
salutaris, sed noctis obscurae non obscuris imperils 
evidenter monuit advenisse diem mihi semper opta- 
bilem, quo me maximi voti compertiret, quantoque 
sumptu deberem procurare supplicamentis ; ipsumque 
Mithram ilium suum sacerdotem praecipuurn, divino 
quodam stellarum consortio, ut aiebat, mihi coniunc- 
tum, sacrorum ministrum decernit. Quis et ceteris 
benivolis praeceptis summatis deae recreatus animi, 
necdum satis luce lucida, discussa quiete, protinus ad 
receptaculum sacerdotis contendo, atque eum cubi- 
culo suo commodum prodeuntem continuatus saluto. 
Solito constantius destinaveram iam velut debitum 
sacris obsequium flagitare : at ille statim, ut me 
conspexit prior, "O" inquit " Luci, te felicem, te 
beatum, quern propitia voluntate numen augustum 
tantopere dignatur : et quid ** inquit " Iam nunc 
stas otiosus teque ipsum demoraris ? Adest tibi 
dies votis assiduis exoptatus, quo deae multino- 
minis divinis imperiis per istas meas manus piissimis 
sacrorum arcanis insinueris " : et iniecta dextera 
senex comissimus ducit me protinus ad ipsas fores 
aedis amplissimae, rituque sollemni apertionis cele- 


apt and clean to the knowledge of the secrets of 
the religion. 

Then when he had thus spoken I was obedient 
unto these words, and fretted not my duty with lack 
of patience ; but I was attentive with meek quiet- 
ness and taciturnity to prove me. I daily served at 
the temple : and in the end the wholesome gentle- 
ness of the goddess did nothing deceive me, for she 
tormented me with no long delay, but in a dark 
night she appeared to me in a vision, declaring in 
words not dark that the day was come which I had 
wished for so long ; she told me what provision and 
charges I should be at for the supplications, and how 
that she had appointed her principal priest Mithras, 
that was joined unto my destiny (as she said) by the 
ordering of the planets, to be a minister with me in 
my sacrifices. When I had heard these and the other 
divine commandments of the high goddess, I greatly 
rejoiced, and arose before day to speak with the 
great priest, whom I fortuned to espy coming out of 
his chamber. Then I saluted him, and thought with 
myself to ask and demand with a bold courage that 
I should be initiate, as a thing now due ; but as soon 
as he perceived me, he began first to say : " O Lucius, 
now know I well that thou art most happy and 
blessed, whom the divine goddess doth so greatly 
accept with mercy. Why dost thou stand idle and 
delay? Behold the day which thou didst dcsin- 
with prayer, when as thou shalt receive at my hands 
the order of most secret and holy religion, according 
to the divine commandment of this goddess of many 
names." Thereupon the old man took me by tin- 
hand, and led me courteously to the gate of the i. 
temple, where, after that it was religiously opened, 
he made a solemn celebration, and after the morning 
2 o 577 


brato ministerio ac matutino peracto sacrificio, de 
opertis adyti prefer t quosdam libros litteris ignora- 
bilibus praenotatos, partim figuris cuiuscemodi 
animalium concepti sermonis compendiosa verba 
suggerentes, partim nodosis et in modum rotae 
tortuosis capreolatimque condensis apicibus a curiosa 1 
profanorum lectione munita : indidem mihi praedicat 
quae forent ad usum teletae necessario praeparanda. 
23 Ea protinus naviter et aliquanto liberalius partim 
ipse, partim per meos socios coemenda procure, 
lamque tempore, ut aiebat sacerdos, id postulante, 
stipatum me religiosa cohorte deducit ad proxumas 
balneas, et prius sueto lavacro traditum, praefatus 
deum veniam, purissime circumrorans abluit, rursum- 
que ad templum reductum, iam duabus diei partibus 
transactis, ante ipsa deae vestigia constituit, secre- 
toque mandatis quibusdam quae voce meliora sunt, 
illud plane cunctis arbitris praecipit, decem continuis 
illis diebus cibariam voluptatem cohercerem neque 
ullum animal essem et invinius essem. Quis vener- 
abili continentia rite servatis, iam dies aderat divino 
destinatus vadimonio, et sol curvatus intrahebat 
vesperam : turn ecce confluunt undique turbae sacra- 
torum 2 ritu vetusto variis quisque me muneribus 
honorantes. Tune semotis procul profanis omnibus 
linteo rudique me contectum amicimine arrepta 
manu sacei'dos deducit ad ipsius sacrarii penetralia. 

1 The MSS have curiositate, which is difficult, if not im- 
possible, to construe. 

* MLiS sacivrum. 1 tkink Brant's emendation savraturum, 
" initiates, adepts, prinsts " is uecsaiy 



sacrifice was ended, he brought out of the secret 
place of the temple certain books written with un- 
known characters, partly painted with figures of 
beasts declaring briefly every sentence, partly with 
letters whose tops and tails turned round in fashion 
of a wheel, joined together above like unto the 
tendrils of a vine, whereby they were wholly strange 
and impossible to be read of the profane people ; 
thence he interpreted to me such things as were 
necessary to the use and preparation of mine order. 
This done, I diligently gave in charge to certain of 
my companions to buy liberally whatsoever was need- 
ful and convenient ; but part thereof I bought 
myself. Then he brought me, when he found that 
the time was at hand, to the next baths, accom- 
oanied with all the religious sort, and demanding 
pardon of the gods, washed me arid purified my body 
according to the custom : after this, when two parts 
of the day was gone, he brought me back again to 
the temple and presented me before the feet of the 
goddess, giving me a charge of certain secret things 
unlawful to be uttered, and commanding me gene- 
rally before all the rest to fast by the space of ten 
continual days, without eating of any beast or drink- 
ing of any wine : which things I observed with a 
marvellous continency. Then behold the day ap- 
proached when as the sacrifice of dedication should 
be done; and when the sun declined and evening 
came, there arrived on every coast a great multitude 
of priests, who according to their ancient order 
offered me many presents and gifts. Then was all 
the laity and profane people commanded to depart, 
and when they had put on my back a new linen 
robe, the priest took my hand and brought me to 
the most secret and sacred place of the temple. 



forsitan satis anxie, studiose lector, quid 
deinde dictum, quid factum : dicerem si dicere 
liceret, cognosceres si liceret audire : sed parem 
noxam contraherent aures et linguae illae teme- 
rariae curiositatis. Nee te tamen desiderio forsitan 
religioso suspensum angore diutino cruciabo : igitur 
audi, sed cr*de, quae vera sunt. Accessi confinium 
mortis et calcato Proserpinae limine per omnia 
vectus elementa remeavi ; nocte media vidi solem 
candido coruscantem lumine ; deos inferos et deos 
superos accessi coram et adoravi de proxumo. Ecce 
tibi rettuli quae, quamvis audita, ignores tamen 
necesse est : ergo quod solum potest sine piaculo ad 
profanorum intellegentias enuntiari, referam. 
24 Mane factum est, et perfectis sollemnibus process! 
duodecim sacratus stolis, habitu quidem religioso satis, 
sed effari de eo nullo vinculo prohibeor, quippe quod 
tune temporis videre praesentes plurimi. Namque in 
ipso aedis sacrae meditullio ante deae simulacrum 
constitutum tribunal ligneum iussus superstiti, byssina 
quidem sed floride depicta veste conspicuus, et 
humeris dependebat pone tergum talorum tenus 
pretiosa chlamida : quaqua tamen viseres, colore 
vario circumnotatis insignibar animalibus ; hinc 
dracones Indici, inde grypes Hyperborei quos in 
speciem pinnatae alitis generat mundus alter : hanc 
Olympiacam stolam sacrati nuncupant. At manu 


Thou wouldest peradventure demand, thou studious 
reader, what was said and done there : verily I 
would tell thee if it were lawful for me to tell, thou 
wouldest know if it were convenient for thee to hear ; 
but both thy ears and my tongue should incur the 
like pain of rash curiosity Howbeit I will not long 
torment thy mind, which peradventure is somewhat 
religious and given to some devotion ; listen there- 
fore, and believe it to be true. Thou shalt under- 
stand that I approached near unto hell, even to the 
gates of Proserpine, and after that I was ravished 
throughout all the elements, I returned to my 
proper place : about midnight I saw the sun brightly 
shine, I saw likewise the gods celestial and the gods 
infernal, before whom I presented myself and wor- 
shipped them. Behold now have I told thee, which 
although thou hast heard, yet it is necessary that 
thou conceal it ; wherefore this only will I tell, which 
may be declared without offence for the under- 
standing of the profane. 

When morning came and that the solemnities 
were finished, I came forth sanctified with twelve 
stoles and in a religious habit, whereof I am not 
forbidden to speak, considering that many persons 
saw me at that time There I was commanded to 
stand upon a pulpit of wood which stood in the 
middle of the temple, before the figure and remem- 
brance of the goddess; my vestment was of fun- 
linen, covered and embroidered with flowers ; I had 
a precious cope upon my shoulders, hanging down 
behind me to the ground, whereon were beast.- 
wrought of divers colours, as Indian dragons, and 
Hyperborean griffins, whom in form of birds the 
other part of the world doth engender : the priests 
commonly call such a habit an Olympian stole. 



dextera gerebam Hammis adultam facem, et caput 
decore corona cinxerat, palmae candidae foliis in 
modum radiorum prosistentibus : sic ad instar solis 
exornato me et in vicem simulacri constitute, repente 
velis reductis, in aspectum populus errabat. Exhinc 
festissimum celebravi natalem sacrorum et suaves 
epulae et faceta convivia; dies etiam tertius pari 
caerimoniarum ritu celebratus, et ientaculum re- 
ligiosum et teletae legitima consummatio. Faucis 
dehinc ibidem commoratus diebus inexplicabili 
voluptate simulacri divini perfruebar, irremunerabili 
quippe beneficio pigneratus. Sed tandem deae 
monitu, licet non plene, tamen pro meo modulo 
supplicue gratiis persolutis, tardam satis domuitionem 
comparOj vix equidem abruptis ardentissimi desiderii 
retinaculis. Provolutus denique ante conspectum 
deae et facie mea diu detersis vestigiis eius, lacrimis 
obortis, singultu crebro sermonem interficiens et 
verba devorans, aio : 

25 " Tu quidem sancta et humani generis sospitatrix 
perpetua, semper fovendis mortalibus munifica, 
dulcem matris aifectionem miserorum casibus tribuis. 
Nee dies nee quies ulla ac ne momentum quidem 
tenue tuis transcuvrit beneficiis otiosum, quin mari 
terraque protegas homines et depulsis vitae procellis 
salutarem porrigas dexteram, qua fatorum etiam 

my right hand I carried a lighted torch, and a gar- 
land of flowers was upon my head, with white palm- 
leaves sprouting out on every side like rays ; thus 1 
was adorned like unto the sun, and made' in fashion 
of an image, when the curtains were drawn aside 
and all the people compassed about to behold me. 
Then they began to solemnise the feast, the nativity 
of my holy order, with sumptuous banquets and 
pleasant meats : the third day was likewise celebrate 
with like ceremonies, with a religious dinner, and 
with all the consummation of the adept order. Now 
when I had continued there some days, conceiving a 
marvellous pleasure and consolation in beholding 
ordinarily the image of the goddess, because of the 
benefits, beyond all esteem or reward, which she had 
brought me, at length she admonished me to depart 
homeward, not without rendering of thanks, which 
although they were not sufficient, yet they were ac- 
cording to my power. Howbeit I could hardly l>i 
persuaded to break the chains of my most earnest 
devotion and to depart, before I had fallen prostrate 
before the face of the goddess and wiped her feet with 
my face, whereby I began so greatly to weep and sigh 
that my words were interrupted, and as devouring 
my prayer I began to say in this sort : " O holy and 
blessed dame, the perpetual comfort of human kind. 
who by Thy bounty and grace nourishest all the 
world, and bearest a great affection to the adversities 
of the miserable as a loving mother, Thou takest no 
rest night or day, neither art Thou idle at any time in 
giving benefits and succouring all men as well on 
land as sea; Thou art she that puttest away all 
storms and dangers from men's life by stretching 
forth Thy right hand, whereby likewise Thou dost 
unweave even the inextricable and tangled web of 



inextricabiliter contorta retractas licia, et Fortunae 
tempestates mitigas, et stellarum noxios meatus 
cohibes. Te super! colunt, observant inferi, tu rotas 
orbem, luminas solem, regis mundurn, calcas Tartarum. 
Tibi respondent sidera, redeunt tempora, gaudent 
numina, serviunt eleraenta : tuo nutu spirant flamina, 
nutriunt nubila, germinant semina, crescunt germina. 
Tuam maiestatem perhorrescunt aves caelo meantes, 
ferae montibus errantes, serpentes solo latentes, 
beluae ponto natantes. At ego referendis laudibus 
tuis exilis ingenio et adhibendis sacrificiis tenuis 
patrinaonio : nee mihi vocis ubertas ad dicenda quae 
de tua maiestate sentio sufficit, nee ora mille linguae- 
que totidem vel indefessi sermonis aeterna series. 
Ergo quod solum potest, religiosus quidem sed pauper 
alioquin, efficere curabo : divinos tuos vultus numen- 
que sanctissimum intra pectoris mei secreta conditum 
perpetuo custodiens imaginabor." 

Ad istum modum deprecate summo numine, corn- 
plexus Mithram sacerdotem et meum iam parentem, 
colloque eius multis osculis inhaerens veniam postula- 
bam, quod eum condigne tantis beneficiis munerari 
26 nequirem. Diu denique gratiarum gerendarum ser- 
mone prolixo commoratus, tandem digredior, et recta 
patrium Larem revisurus meum post aliquam multum 
temporis, contendo ; paucisque post diebus, deae 
potentis instinctu, raptim constrictis sarcinulis, nave 
conscensa Romam versus profectionem dirigo ; tutus- 
que prosperitate ventorum ferentium Augusti portum 


fate, and appeasest the great tempests of fortune, 
and keepest back the harmful course of the stars. 
The gods supernal do honour Thee ; the gods infernal 
have Thee in reverence ; Thou dost make all the earth 
to turn, Thou givest light to the sun, Thou governest 
the world, Thou treadest down the power of hell. 
By Thy mean the stars give answer, the seasons 
return, the gods rejoice, the elements serve : at Thy 
commandment the winds do blow, the clouds nourish 
the earth, the seeds prosper, and the fruits do grow. 
The birds of the air, the beasts of the hill, the ser- 
pents of the den, and the fishes of the sea do tremble 
at Thy majesty : but my spirit is not able to give Thee 
sufficient praise, my patrimony is unable to satisfy 
Thy sacrifices ; my voice hath no power to utter that 
which I think of Thy majesty, no, not if I had a thou- 
sand mouths and so many tongues and were able 
to continue for ever. Howbeit as a good religious 
person, and according to my poor estate, I will do 
what I may : I will always keep Thy divine appear- 
ance in remembrance, and close the imagination of 
Thy most holy godhead within my breast." 

When I had ended my oration to the great god- 
dess, I went to embrace the great priest Mithras, 
now my spiritual father, clinging upon his neck and 
kissing him oft, and demanding his pardon, consider- 
ing I was unable to recompense the good which he 
had done me : and after much talk and great greet- 
ings and thanks I departed from him straight to 
visit my parents and friends, after that I had been so 
long absent. And so within a short while after, by 
the exhortation of the goddess I made up my packet 
and took shipping towards the city of Rome, and 1 
voyaged very safely and swiftly with a prosperous 
wind to the port of Augustus, and thence travelling 



celerrime ac dehlnc carpento p?rvolavi, vesperatr)* 
quam dies insequebatur Iduum Decembiium sici\- 
sanctam istam civitatem accedo. Nee ulluna tarn 
praecipuum mihi exinde studium, quam cotidie 
supplicare summo numini reginae Isidis, quae, de 
templi situ sumpto nomine, Campensis summa cum 
veneratione propitiatur. Eram cultor denique assi- 
duus, fani quidem advena, religionis autem indigena. 
Ecce transcurso signifero circulo sol magnus annum 
compleverat, et quietem meam rursus interpellat 
nurninis benefici cura pervigilis et rursus teletae, 
rursus sacrorum commonet. Mirabar quid rei temp 
taret, quid pronuntiaret futurum ; quidni ? PJenissime 
27 iamdudum videbar initiatus. Ac dum religiosum 
scrupulum partim apud meum sensum disputo, 
partim sacratorum consiliis examino, novum miruui- 
que plane comperior, deae quidem me tantum sacris 
imbutum at magni dei deumque summi parentisj 
invicti Osiris, necdum sacris illustratum. Quamquam 
enim connexa, immo vero inunita ratio numinis reli- 
gionisque esset, tamen teletae discrimen interesse 
maximum : prohinc me quoque peti magno etiam deo 
famulum sentire deberem. Nee diu res in ambiguo 
stetit : nam proxuma nocte vidi quendam de sacratis, 
linteis iniectum, qui thyrsos et hederas et tacenda 
quaedam gerens ad ipsos meos Lares collocaret, et 
occupato sedili meo religionis amplae denuntiaret 

by chariot, I arrived at that holy city about the 
twelfth day of December in the evening. And the 
greatest desire which I had there was daily to make 
my prayers to the sovereign goddess Isis, who, by 
reason of the place where her temple was builded, 
was called Campensis, 1 and continually is adored of 
the people of Rome: her minister and worshipper 
was I, a stranger to her church, but not unknown to 
her religion. 

When now the sun had passed through all the 
signs of heaven and the year was ended, ami 
that the goddess warned me again in my sleep to 
receive a new order and consecration, I marvelled 
greatly what it should signify and what should 
happen, considering that I was most fully an initiate 
and sacred person already. But it fortuned that 
while I partly reasoned with myself, and partly 
examined the perplexity of my conscience with the 
priests and bishops, there came a nc\\ and m.-im-l- 
lous thought to my mind : that is to say, that I ^ i- 
only religious. to the goddess Isis, but not yet sacred 
to the religion of great Osiris, the sovereign father of 
all the gods ; between whom, although there was a 
religious concord or even unity, yet there was a 
great difference of order and ceremony, and so I 
thought that I should likewise believe myself to be 
called to be a minister unto Osiris. There was no 
long delay of doubt: for in the night after appeared 
unto me one of that order, covered with linen nilu . 
holding in his hands spears wrapped in ivy, and other 
things not convenient to declare, which he left in my 
chamber, and sitting in my seat, recited to me such 
things as were necessary for the sumptuous banquet 
of my religious entry. And to the end I might 
1 The temple of Isis was in the Campus Martiui. 



epulas. Is ut agnitionem mihi scilicet certo aliquo 
sui signo subministraret, sinistri pedis talo paululum 
reflexo cunctabundo clementer incedebat vestigio. 
Sublata est ergo post tarn manifestam deum volunta- 
tem ambiguitatis tola caligo, et illico deae matutinis 
perfectis salutationibus summo studio percontabar 
singulos, ecqui vestigium similis sit ut somnium. 
Nee fides afuit : nam de pastophoris unum conspexi 
statim praeter indicium pedis, cetero etiam statu 
atque habitu examussim nocturnae imagini congruen- 
tem,quem Asinium Marcellum vocitari cognovi postea, 
reformationis meae non alienum nomen. 1 Nee moratus 
conveni protinus eum, sane nee ipsum futuri sermonis 
ignarum, quippe iamdudum consimili praecepto sacro- 
rum ministrandorum commonefactum : nam sibi visus 
est quiete proxuma, dum magno deo coronas exaptat. 
et de eius ore, quo singulorum fata dictat, audisse, 
mitti sibi Madaurensem sed admodum pauperem, cm 
statim sua sacra deberet ministrare ; nam et illi studi- 
orum gloriam et ipsi grande compendium sua com- 
28 parari providentia. Adistummodum desponsus sacris, 
sumptuum tenuitate contra votum meum retardabar : 
nam et viriculas patrimonii peregrinationis attriverant 
impensae, et erogationes urbicae pristinis illis provin- 
cialibus antistabant plurimum. Ergo duritia pauper- 

1 -4lienum nomen, the reading of the MSS, gives a sense 
oppod.te to laat r^juired The Aldine editor supplied the 
necessary iwn. 


know him again, he shewed me a certain sign, to 
wit, how the heel of his left foot was somewhat 
maimed, which caused him a little to halt. After 
that I did manifestly thus know the will of the gods, 
and all shadow of doubtfulness was taken away, 
when matins was ended I went diligently from one 
to another to find if there were any of the priests 
which had the halting mark of his foot, according as 
I learned by my vision. At length I found it true ; 
for I perceived one of the company of the Pastophores 
who had not only the token of his foot but the 
stature and habit of his body resembling in every 
point as he appeared in the night, and he was called 
Asinius 1 Marcellus, a name not much disagreeing 
from my transformation. By and by I went to him, 
which knew well enough all the matter, as being 
admonished by like precept to give me the orders : 
for it seemed to him the night before, as he dn -s> <! 
the flowers and garlands about the head of the great 
god Osiris, he understood by the mouth of his image, 
which told the predestinations of all men, how he did 
send to him a certain poor man of Madaura, to whom 
he should straightway minister his sacraments, 
whereby through his divine providence the one 
should receive glory for his virtuous studies, and 
the other, being the priest himself, a great reward. 
When I saw myself thus deputed and promised unto 
religion, my desire was stopped by reason of poverty ; 
for I had spent a great part of my patrimony, 
which was not very large, in travel and pert 
grinations, but most of all my charges in the city 
Of Rome were by far greater than in the provm 
Thereby my low estate withdrew me a great i 

i Adlington's note: " Animus by taking away the letter i is 
made Asinus." 


tatis intereedente, quod ait vetus proverbium, inter 
sacrum et saxum positus cruciabar, nee setius tamen 
identidem numinis premebar instantia. lamque saepi- 
cule non sine magna turbatione stimulatus, postremo 
iussus, veste ipsa mea quamvis parvula distracta, 
sufficientem corrasi summulam Et id ipsum prae- 
ceptum fuerat specialiter : " An tu " inquit " Si quam 
rem voluptati struendae moliris, laciniis tuis nequa- 
quam parceres, nunc tantas caerimonias aditurus 
impaenitendae te pauperiei cunctaris committere ? " 
Ergo igitur cunctis afFatim praeparatis, decem rursus 
diebus inanimis contentus cibis, insuper etiam deraso 
capite, principalis dei nocturnis orgiis illustratus, 
plena iam fiducia germanae religionis obsequium 
divinum frequentabam. Quae res summum pere- 
grinationi meae tribuebat solacium, nee minus etiam 
victum uberiorem subministrabat : quidni ? Spiritu 
faventis eventus quaesticulo forensi nutrito pei 
patrocinia sermonis Romani. 

29 Et ecce post pauculum tempus inopinatis et usque- 
quaque mirificis imperils deum rursus interpellor, et 
cogor tertiam quoque teletam susceptare. Nee levi 
cura sollicitus sed oppido suspensus animi mecum 


so that I was in much distress betwixt the victim 
and the knife l (as the old proverb hath it), and yet 
I was not seldom urged and pressed on by that same 
god. In the end, being oftentimes stirred forward 
and at last commanded, and not without irn-ut 
trouble of mind, I was constrained to sell my poor 
robe for a little money ; howbeit, I scraped up 
sufficient for all my affairs. Then thus it was par- 
ticularly spoken unto me, saying: " How is it that 
for a little pleasure thou wouldest not be afraid 
to sell thy vestments, but entering into so great 
ceremonies, dost fear to fall into poverty ? But 
such poverty thou shalt never repent." I did 
therefore prepare myself, and for ten other davs 
abstain from all animal meats, and did sh.-ivc my 
head: then was initiate into the ceremonies of the 
great god, which were done in the night, and 1 did 
frequent his services and sacrifices the more confi- 
dently because I did already know well the like 
religion of this. This thing gave me great comfort 
in my peregrination abroad, and likewise ministered 
unto me more plentiful living, considering by the 
favour of good fortune I gained some money in 
haunting to the courts of law, by reason I did plead 
causes in the Latin tongue. 

Not very much after I was again called and ad- 
monished by the marvellous commands of gods, which 
I did very l